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Devin Townsend - The Hummer CD (album) cover


Devin Townsend


Experimental/Post Metal

2.26 | 98 ratings

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2 stars This album is worlds apart from most of DT's other albums and is an entire spectrum separated from any of the Strapping Young Lad albums. This one is completely ambient and utilizes low frequency noises to create atmospheres of mostly electronic processed sounds. Don't expect any rhythm and the vocals here are spoken word or added as effects. As Devin himself said, this album is not for everyone. It was created as a sort of cooling down period for him, and it acts as a very meditative album for sure. It is relaxing and works fine as that sort of album. The soundscapes here approach the same ambience as the ambient droneworks of Bass Communion which is the side project of another excellent prog rock giant, Steven Wilson. The difference is that Bass Communion recordings, at least to some extent, have more of a meaning or direction overall.

These tracks on The Hummer are mostly uneventful, especially the first 2 very long tracks, the title track at over 15 minutes and "Arc" which is over 23 minutes long. Not much happens here, there is no percussion, only long drawn out drones or pitch sounds which build and ebb over their long durations. There are a few other added sounds such as morse code type sounds that add a timely element to the tracks, but don't do much to give it direction. This goes on for way too long. In comparison to the best Bass Communion tracks, at least they tend to have direction, some percussive noises and more variations in pitch. Track 3 on The Hummer is "Consciousness Causes Collapse" which actually has more action than the first 2 tracks starts out with a beautiful flute solo, which eventually gives way to electronc sounds again and a spoken word reading by Leonard Cohen of part of the Tibetian Book of the Dead. This works well enough and adds to the recording, but it is a long, long span to get to this point.

This music flows into a more structured track, the comparatively short "The Equation" which makes for a strong track, even though it still stays with the overall sound, it continues in a direction that was started in the previous track. "The Abacus" actually finally introduces some percussive sounds to the ambience which still doesn't distract from the meditative nature of the album, but actually adds more to the album and it actually becomes as interesting as the best Bass Communion works. Last of all, "Cosmic Surf" starts off interestingly enough, but soon descends to sounds of waves with very little else. Eventually some bad spoken word clips are thrown in talking about corny new age book of life topics and that just seals the fate of the album. Meditative, yes, but except for a few interesting shorter tracks that make up the middle part of the album, this is overly long and not good for much else but meditation. As good as other Devin Townsend albums are, it was expected that at least the ambient works would have been better than this, but overall, this is a disappointment. 2 stars only.

TCat | 2/5 |


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