Boomkat Product Review:
A clusterfuuck of things that are of supreme interest to us on this low-key classic from Alex Zhang Hungtai - a one off excursion as Love Theme for Helm’s Alter label. Everything Hungtai has ever made has chimed with us on a deep level but this one seems ripe for reappraisal, its neon blue mood magnified thru the forlorn prism of the 2020's so much more than the 2010’s when it first emerged. Lovers of anything from Borhen to Jon Hassell to Lynch to Dome, Leyland Kirby, Vangelis and forgotten "bad mood music” post-punk protagonists Pump - this one’s for you.
“If there's a single guiding motif to this debut recording from Love Theme, it's the melancholic throb of love learnt and love lost, a descent that tumbles and slips through the overall feeling of looking back. As intimately and carefully as its parts cohesively lament a narrative, it's the after-image that catches your breath, like a memory morphing as it is observed.Comprised of Alex Zhang Hungtai of the now defunct project Dirty Beaches, along with Austin Milne, and Simon Frank, 'Love Theme' is arranged from an improvised session with twin saxophones, synthesizer, percussion, drum machine, and voice.
Over the course of a year the material was edited remotely from the members' home cities of London, LA and Taipei.The record's sullen ambience is never left too long to set in. The aching wane of the saxophone arrangements frisk the propulsive aggro of the mixed percussion, forcing a melancholic halo upon the queasy stupor of the synthetic swing that closes each side of the record. It's a bizarre lust for life that's being divined from equal parts dislocation and invigoration, a potent remedy which perhaps Love Theme can call their own.
Percolating and finding form over time, the record instinctively follows a travel narrative, moving across a series of landscapes, reflecting the innate experiences of the expressions and voices that were first collected in South London back in February 2015."