Robert Hampson


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English psychedelic sound artist Robert Hampson is as driven as ever to explore suggestive, sometimes unsettling sonic constructions on Répercussions, partially a collection of recent compositional work but functioning very beautifully as its own overall release. Given the use of percussive instruments throughout on the opening title track, originally done as a festival commission, there's almost something straightforward about the beats as they emerge. The familiar sense of disorienting rhythmic collage that has underlined much of his work from the 1990s onward remains key, however, even as this is something that's definitely not Main. If anything it suggests a febrile exotica instead of a looming sense of doom, Martin Denny in a locked loop that then mutates further as it goes, from near silence aside from buzzes and twitters to serene gamelan textures mixed with other touches and interruptions. "De la Terre à la Lune," composed for a performance at a French planetarium, feels like the science fiction of a hundred years back without the spaceships, spectral travels, and moving through the ether -- Joe Meek's otherworldly I Hear a New World and the visions of Fantastic Planet perhaps being the best two comparative counterparts. There's a sense of steady progression and flow, just not of the volcanic sort, as crackling buzz, quiet grinds, and more slip past. "Antarctica Ends Here," reappearing here after an initial appearance on a split single release with Cindytalk from two years previous, is openly a nod to John Cale's "Antarctica Starts Here," down to being dedicated to the Welsh music giant, but the tactile crackle and hiss underscoring the calm piano makes this all Hampson's work, as excellent and remarkable as always.

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