Since leaving the calculated grooves and anxiously kraut-ish post-punk of Effi Briest behind, Nicky Mao (AKA Hiro Kone) has delved deep into the curiously insidious realms of experimental techno and artful rhythms.
Hiro Kone's latest EP, aptly dubbed Fallen Angels, sources Mao's earliest memories of her childhood in Hong Kong, repurposing vibrant fragments of the past through a suitably disorienting array of sonic imagery. Using Wong Kar-Wai as her muse, Mao's six tracks presented here celebrate the dichotomy of sharing roots with equally foreign lands. Centerpieces are dismantled and absorbed into atmosphere as background ephemera takes the spotlight.
We begin with the pummeling serration of "Jungle," a dizzying spat of curt serrations that revolves around its axis in locked rhythm. The aural display slices through air with the premeditated sharpness of Pan Sonic before a sudden sample literally suggesting Mao's upbringing collapses into the frame. "Ferry Home" continues the narrative with a slew of vignettes rooted in swampy, neon-lighted realms. A-side closer "Days of Being Wild" unfurls its caustic movements through the dancefloor, simultaneously alienating and comforting anything in its wake.
"Island" opens the B-side in a slightly lighter headspace, channeling Steve Reich's clipped symphonies and celestial levitations of the krautrock movement's Berlin-school of kosmische musik. "Ashes," one of the more dynamic sets of the EP, revels in a glitchy terrain previously plowed by globally-focused manics like Muslimgauze and modern beat-and-atmosphere surgeons Holly Herndon and Huerco S.
With Fallen Angels, Hiro Kone demonstrates an effervescent bob of basement sonics and tectonic-shifts, recalling a future firmly suggested by the past.
Such a dense, mystical record with an almost impenetrable shroud of darkness surrounding it. However, once the layers start peeling back, you start seeing the light. It's far away. You'll never touch it. Jean-Francois D. D.