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HILA PUNTUR: Plastic Polaroid

Geno Thackara By

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Aren't Polaroids largely plastic already? What other kind is there? Does this title signify that the work is fixed like a photograph or malleable like, well, plastic itself? Is it a quickly captured snapshot, or a work craftily molded into shape? When approaching HILA PUNTUR, all of the above are somewhat true. It's best to leave the questions and be ready to go in any direction at any moment. The group's strange blend of quasi-avant-pop-jazz is nothing if not unpredictable.

If this colorful listen is the equivalent of a Polaroid, it's one that's been thoroughly shaken, Andre 3000 style. The band mixes unconventional vocal lines, semi-abrasive horns and electronic textures as though sloshing film chemicals for a series of surrealist photos. Frontwoman Anna Hirsch muses in a rambling kind of reverie about intimate moments and philosophical thoughts; elsewhere she roves up and down the scale over jittery staggered rhythms and stoned-sounding reeds to make a series of little mind-altering daydreams. The lyrics are just as offbeat as the her melodies and accent; there's a thread that's always easy to follow yet always surprising.

That isn't to say it's all atonal and/or weird. "Punch Buggy" slides into a playfully groovy daydream of swirling sax over drug-den electric piano. "Kisses" drifts from cute reverie to abrupt funk fugue and back; "Plastic Thoughts" smoothly drifts into an easygoing haze of synth and horn. Perhaps it's best summed up right at the beginning: things first open with the line "The worst thing you can do is nothing," and it explains the ethos of Plastic Polaroid as much as anything. Art is about doing your own something as unashamedly as you can, after all, and this outfit certainly does it without self-consciousness or regard for convention. It's an affair always inventive and colorful, often in the loopiest of ways.

Track Listing: Giantgiant; Love Itself 1; Punch Buggy; Polaroid; Kisses; Plastic Thoughts; Ants in My Pants; Sweatband Break; ...; Love Itself 2.

Personnel: Anna Hirsch: voice, composition, electronics; Michael Anklin: electronics; Fabian Willmann: tenor saxophone; Gardar Edvaldsson: tenor saxophone; Stephan Blecher: synthesizer, piano; Victor Rossé: bass; Michael Heidepriem: drums.

Title: Plastic Polaroid | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Hout Records

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