written by Maria Arroyo
Germany-based band hackedepicciotto just released their fourth album, The Current. This duo is comprised of Alexander Hacke from Einsturzende Neubauten and Danielle de Picciotto from Crime & The City Solution. Hackedepicciotto describes their music as cinematic and drone-like, which is completely evident throughout this album.
Starting off the album is their song, “Defiance,” that immediately hits you with their larger than life sound. It starts with a female voice that echoes the phrase “all men are created equal” which becomes the transition into a smooth guitar and string intro. It has a haunting and eerie like quality to it that is reminiscent of an old folktale song and really drew me into their world.
“Onwards” introduces a strong and powerful string arrangement with hard percussive elements that create a very intense and alluring sound. There is something about this song it feels wild and mysterious, both in the repeated phrase “Onward towards the light” and in their instrumentation. I found this song has a similar intensity to that of the sequel, “Love Never Dies” by the renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. The mix of classical music and modern rock influences is such a daring statement that they told very well.
“Metal Hell” takes on a very interesting intro choice. This intro, in particular, set the tone for a song rooted in its rhythmic parts. This song is also very sound effect-based, but with a constant dirtied up guitar sound. It has a futuristic and almost alien-like intensity that felt strange but in a good way.
The Current is the first song where we hear those vocal-driven drones that they are inspired by so much. The drones are low and chant-like, while the rest of the song is indicative of music from the Middle East and from African-inspired drumming. It truly felt like a song that combined the best part of different cultures into one piece that was exceptionally done.
“Petty Silver” introduced a modern feel with some EDM influence while staying true to their eclectic sound. One of the words that stuck out to me was hypnotic which is exactly the word to describe this album. There was mention of the 10 commandments throughout the song which added an aspect of religion that was interesting and almost risque which made it even better. There was the introduction of a spoken word segment that leads well into their next song, “The Banishing.” This song had a strong lead vocal presence, but they didn’t let that stop their mission of creating a truly unique sound by keeping their instrumentation at the forefront of their minds.
“Third From The Sun” brought back their futuristic elements with a mix of West African drumming. This was also complemented by the grungy guitar section that kept their modern influences intact. “Loreley” was a German-spoken song which was a phenomenal surprise! It was complemented beautifully with another well done orchestral part.
Their next song, “The Seventh Day,” started with more strong world percussive parts and tambourine, which helped create an even bigger sound. While being the longest song on the album, the momentum they kept throughout kept it from feeling too drawn out. “Upon Departure” is another great orchestral arrangement with a powerful percussion section.
“The Black Pool” closes out the album with a strong and bold message. Throughout the song were some chorus-like chants that were supported by a speech or newsflash of some sort. At times the recording felt a bit fuzzy so it was hard to make out some of the phrases or statistics. This was most definitely a bold choice to go with a political related song to close out the album, but I think it paid off very well and just goes to show that they know how to keep things interesting.
Their sound has so many different elements even though there is not a prominent focus on a lead vocalist. The pictures they’re painting is incredible and magical in every way. Their musicianship shines throughout the album and has had me view this style of music is a new and different way.