The debut album of Dublin-based electronica musician Hunter-Gatherer has been reaping critical acclaim in recent weeks, but a couple of tracks lopped off the running order would have made it infinitely more concise.
Anyone with a passing interest in modern Irish music doesn't need to be told how inventive and exciting the music scene in this country is these days. Young musicians are constantly trumping each other in an effort to be weirder and more wonderful than their peers, often with stunning results.
Hunter-Gatherer is one such musician. It's easy to imagine what the Dubliner's music sounds like from the title of his debut album alone; those twelve words evoke a bleak landscape with twinkles of mystery and ugly slashes of darkness. Essentially, that sums up 'I Dreamed I Was a Footstep in the Trail of a Murderer'; these are minimalist electronica instrumentals that start off with a stark beat or bare-boned melody, and gradually take off into gentle pulsating grooves.
'Left for Dead' is an instant standout, its thunderstorm-sampling intro sounding like it could soundtrack a futuristic version of King Lear; the title track is both more immediate and more frantic, drawing out flashes of high-pitched synth, while the sombre 'When I First Climbed the Spoon-Cracked Hills' is as eerily staid as anything from the recent Fever Ray album.
There's a good balance of dreamy, meditative compositions and more urgent techno-tinged tunes here, but if there's one negative about this album, it is that its running time (over an hour) is slightly too long to consistently hold your attention. Nevertheless, it's an album to drift off into a nightmarish sleep to.