CD Review

Hypnotique – “The Hanging Garden”

By Marcus Pan

The Hanging GardenInitially I was impressed by the ribbon-tied packaging of this release. Very well thought out, an individual and hand-crafted look to the specialty folded cardboard casing with a hand tied ribbon that held the CD from falling out during shipping. Cut-out lace designs along the edge adorn it, and a picture of Hypnotique herself in full-on pretension. The Hanging Garden promises me the new "electronic sound of the future." But for the most part we have a mirror copy of the imagery on the limited edition hand crafted gatefold – of which I have one of seven hundred and seventy seven copies. Pretension galore!

Seemingly one of those one-woman "bands" who "play" various instruments (the press kit states "anarchic vintage synthesizers" which really is one instrument...keys are keys) including the elusive theremin, the work on The Hanging Garden is cerebral, spoken word and extremely eclectic at best. Tinkering minimal synth keys and a humming theremin offer a backdrop to Hypnotique's opening spoken poetics on The Witch's Tale.

Rereading the press kit and liner notes, I have a feeling Hypnotique is being a bit self-congratulatory. (How do you "play" voice and computer processing? And is it really necessary to list four separate keyboard units?) Bands listed as being worked with I don't recall hearing, and she trained on theremin with the inventor's grand niece. It has me wondering that with all this supposed experience, why am I pining for at least an attempt at a good arrangement and some decent production on the sound? Being unafraid of DIY as the kit states as one thing – but there's got to be some level of professionalism attempted, no?

The King Never Died is nuisance sound at best with echoing spoken word and one of the most bee-buzzing annoying backdrops I can recall, yet at the same time it's one of the better songs on The Hanging Garden, at least attempting to sound musical. Alphabetic meanwhile opens with someone who proclaims how his voice is coming from "the left side only" now, which, frankly was a trick that stereo recording accomplished decades ago. The instruments used are specifically stated as "vintage" while this is supposed to be the "sound of the future?" As Alphabetic progresses we have Hypnotique begin playing a...well, it sounds like a phone. Or one of those children's toy pianos.

Dear Diana is interesting with Hypnotique's singing and some very cabaret like clarinet accompaniment. The production could be much better, but it has a very burlesque appeal to it. Likewise the accompaniment of Clara De Lune is quite pleasing to the ear. These are the two highlights to The Hanging Garden's twelve tracks. A few come close, Trust Me is decent but too similar to Clara De Lune to impress me after it...and the lyrical/poetic content does leave very much to be desired.

I can dig the poetry, I can even dig the ambience of The Hanging Garden to some extent, but I can't dig someone who levies the guise of pretension at the level Hypnotique does within the cerebral confines and makeup of this same garden. The packaging is the best thing to have here. The CD is boorish, monotonous and overzealous while only amateurish at even its best moments. I'm sorry, but I can't recommend this beyond being interesting to look at. Most should keep the ribbon tied.

Contact Information:
Lunette Records
Post: Unit 1, Forest Garden Mews, Off Forest Gardens, London, N17 6XA, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0) 208 808 5126