Kim Hiorthoy

By David Gunn

An obsession with the childlike and the innocent is a common peccadillo amongst many electronic artists – cue toy pianos and sampled playground laughing... On first listen, it may seem that Kim Hiorthoy is firmly embedded in this tradition. Toy piano sounds do appear, and melodies are often simple and unadorned. However, it quickly becomes clear there is far more going here than in many comparable releases. Whereas it is often easy too to conclude that, for many artists, childlike simplicity is a last resort and retreat for those unable to produce anything more complex, Hopeness is a far more complex and intelligent affair. Okay, the title is truly, completely awful (hopeless?... Ed), but it is probably the only bad thing about this release.

Hopeness is not only an album of great warmth and humanity, it is also the work of a man swiftly approaching complete mastery of his chosen genre. Whilst the simplicity of composition and the harmonic softness of instrumentation do seem to betray a certain innocence, Hiorthoy (a talented multimedia designer as well as musician) displays a sure knowledge of how and when to use simplicity and restraint – both phrasing and rhythmical structure bespeak the confidence of a man who knows exactly what he is doing and why he is doing it. Several tracks take unexpected turns but Hiorthoy has an enviable skill in guiding the listener through such transitions in such a way that there always is an internal logic, a subtle inweaving that holds everything together in a magnificent coherence.

In the spirit of the release, I'm going to keep this short. Hopeness manages to combine elegant simplicity with a rare degree of musical intelligence. And there isn't really much else that needs to be said. Go buy it now.
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