Boomkat Product Review:
A curious, genre-baiting sci-fi oddity from writer and artist Holly Childs and Gediminas Žygus, best known for their releases on Knives and Danse Noire as J.G. Biberkopf. If you've ever wondered what an experimental rave opera directed by Peter Greenaway might sound like, "Hydrangea" is an unmissable treat.
It's too easy to dunk on experimental music for being too high-minded, conceptual or poetic, but why exactly should we dismiss something for seeking to challenge socially-gestated anti-art cynicism? "Hydrangea" is a difficult record that injects familiar contemporary tech-adjacent themes with poetry, science fiction and Dutch hardcore in a way that's sure to polarize listeners. A collaboration between artist and writer Holly Childs and producer Gediminas Žygus (who used to fashion fwd-thinking electronix under the J.G. Biberkopf moniker), the album unravels slowly and refuses to pander to polite notions of tastefulness or aesthetic hierarchy.
At times it feels like Michael Nyman's classic soundtrack work (think "The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover") bolted onto James Ferraro or Oneohtrix Point Never's time-fluxing retro-futurist shovelwarez while the familiar thump of Dutch gabber echoes in the distance. Hoover sounds wobble ominously from a blurry parallel universe like anonymous machinery preparing the next line of luxury smartphones, while canned harp and flute sounds blossom and bloom in overcomplicated digital gallery spaces and hollowed-out words are muttered back and forth like half-heard conversations or fragments of daily consumption, barely-remembered.
This isn't so much an album of defined tracks intended to be sliced out of context and shared for a quick-and-dirty dopamine hit, it's a series of questions to inspire reflection and contemplation that unravels mischievously over repeat listens. In musing on the idea of truth, security, online life, the reliability of the narrator and postmodernism, it's one of the more ambitious sets we've heard in a minute. Give it time, and the stories, toxically melted into plastique sonic backdrops, begin to make chilling sense."