deadhead words... hula 050219

hula : cut from inside / murmur [klang galerie]

way, way back in 1994 this particular scribbler was a very happy bunny indeed. cherry red just released the best of hula and knowing they had precured the band’s entire catalogue i waited with much baited breath for more. and waited. on enquiry, they strangely claimed there had been little appetite for a full schedule of reissues and so, there were no further plans to utilise the product they now owned. i’ve always found it hard to believe the market wasn’t there, especially when eyes pour over half of the dross on their re-re-release schedules. ah well, at least i had my own self-made cdr’s from the original vinyl to persistently spin and adore. fast forward then, at snail’s pace to 2018 and the discovery that one of my favourite label’s klang galerie were licensing hula’s entire works. hearing that made for a great day walter! at last, some of the most important, yet criminally overlooked electronic music from the 1980s would finally be given a laser-edged sheen. sheffield steel city raising it’s bellowing trip-hammers once more, casting breathless shadows from imperious sweat-drenched metallic sculptured skins. such joy! they, ron wright, mark albrow and alan fisch emerged from hula kula, a shared living space with stephen mallinder and paul widger, already special forces within the city’s cultural maelstrom of site specific sounds. the debut ep black pop workout, was indeed that. a vast immeasurable sucking of winding bass, rioting percussion and deep fusion of multi-layered voice. these four tracks primitive, but in essence the blueprint for all hula. irregular post-punk tangents ripped to shreds, professionally cross-threaded into limitless angles of industrial-funk and/or bleak soundtrack oppression. mainly recorded at the cabswestern works this ep is placed at the rear of this reissue and relays the journey to cut from inside’s tidier, less claustrophobic but no less menacing succession. ron wright will always be hula’s master-key for me. his heart-racing vocals completely render the scenery sound. voice striding through every beat, klang and rhythmic other-noises and where he fails to echo often cut-ups will fill a void. the mini-lp from 1983 is one high-pressure roll of heavy-duty breaks and his all-out vocal jackhammers from its flesh metal infectious opening pulsations. mother courage and church juice funnel the pressure inward before murder in the clean states snaps the tension and repeats which would become a familiar phrase on their environmental soundscapes. flip the wax though and the no let-up repetition of release the grip ignites and morphs into a stuttering shadowland. hula grapple and crawl in that dirt talk. cut from inside ends with the ultimate, elemental hula in stretch the attitude and subliminal. odd jazz imperfections utilised into one massive head-down plunge and then.., murmur. further progression. refined, but no less virulent. still abrasive and tensile, but there is more space. sounds find their path and ceiling, tracks allowed to drift. ghost rattle levers the pot and invisible rushes the edging, switchbacked to a pointing climax. voice and rhythm melts and staggers into the dream-state paranoia of delirium before the hard metallic onslaught of pleasure hates language. a barraging railroad before hitting the buffers, regrouping and turning the vinyl... this being a cd of course, i’m revisiting old habits! side b of murmur was and is, always a high. the track list of tear-up, hour by hour, jump the gun, red mirror and cold kiss has everything and more of hula’s expertise in creative sensorium. it ran the wires with vocal rage, mania and unpredictability. an ever-forward momentum, almost reaching the heightened scale of experience only felt during their extra-periphery live performances (they forever remain my favourite live act) but this sequence surely gets close. murmur is the most exquisite, listenable noise, perfect in just about every way and not many bands could progress beyond but hula did. here, the sublime trio of twelve-inch slabs of (no-one leaves the) fever car, get the habit and walk on stalks of shattered glass are all included running amok over their own brand of alter-state territorial funk, readied and beating the call to electronic dancehalls. nort was enlisted on main percussion duties as alan fisch left and the threesome became four after murmur with john avery adding a further richness to their motion soundtracking. these two compacts contain work from 1982-85 which is quite simply extraordinary listening. even now, decades on still sounding completely alive, explorational and unique. hula deserve to be talked of within the realms of cabaret voltaire’s future sounds. it’s no coincidence that they all grew from the same city’s labouring, learned furnaces and just like mallinder and kirk, many more animated sounds and priceless visual objects would be forged. tales of torn silk, metal, flesh and machines, muscle, bones and sinew shall be continued...

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Hula -- Murmur