The shoegaze genre is often derided for, amongst many other supposed “crimes”, an obsession with inaudible vocals. Fans though (including yours truly), will argue this is because the vocals are treated as another layer in the trademark “wall of sound”. ‘Sugar’ by Hypermagic (an unknown artist from London) is one such record and it’s a real slow-building listening experience which – after repeated plays – grows from pleasant, sumptuous background music to ambient pieces of great depth.
‘Spell Inside’ is a fine case in point where the lyric “so long” is repeated ad infinitum against a stunning backdrop of bubbling beats and space-y effects. ‘Face’ is set against elegantly rendered shards of feedback and features the kind of alien-like melody usually discovered on Boards Of Canada albums. ‘Beached’ draws inspiration from the dubby soundscapes of A.R. Kane but its wash of melody is equally as stunning in its own right, whereas the blissed-out wonder of ‘Headcleaner’ is another flawless moment. After that there is a noticeable lull as the album veers from essential into pleasant listening but at least the urgency is picked up by the final track as the clicking beats and effects of ‘Once Articulate’ gradually re-establish their grasp on the perfect noise.
There’s a tendency for this kind of music to drift by in a superfically emotional wave of background music but there is a complexity and beauty to most of these creations which conjure up the all-important moving experience. ‘Sugar’ is a special record which, though inspired by the likes of Slowdive and Boards Of Canada, possesses a seamlessness and intelligence which enables it to be described a near classic in the ambient/shoegaze genre.
Bandcamp Stream for Hypermagic – ‘Sugar’
Khonnor, Slowdive, Boards Of Canada