Love Theme - S/T
Ominous and daring improvised work here from Alex Zhang Hungtai’s new project Love Theme. After he retired the band / moniker of Dirty Beaches, Hungtai began working within the inner reaches of his darkened self or perhaps, the wilderness and grim future that we all face. Collaborating with Austin Milne and Simon Frank, Hungtai paints broad strokes with saxophone, synth drones, obscured voices and an overwrought din for what is some of the most haunting and desolate sound-scapes around today. Entirely improvised and (probably) recorded live, Love Theme’s debut conjures some of the harsher moments and touchstones of Dirty Beaches but mixes in some version of classic industrial music. Perhaps an update on it even.
You can hear that amalgamation well on the final track of Side 1, “Docklands - Yaumatei - Plum Garden” when the drum machines kick in, the saxes wail and the beautifully cheapened synths fill out the sonic void. With “She’s Here,” the group takes on a more serene, Eastern drone with saxophones and synths that mimic classical reed instruments from India. And things reach an apex with “All Sky, Love’s End” over 16 minutes of menacing throb, muted reeds, guttural rhythms and eventually, an apocalyptic drift that does help resolve the grimey atmosphere Love Theme create, but ultimately makes the unsettling tone linger that much longer.
This debut by Love Theme will easily fly under the radar but it deserves your ears if you have an affinity for Throbbing Gristle, Suicide or some of the recent work of Colin Stetson. Hoping for more to come (Dom)
Check out a track here.