I try my hardest not to judge a band by its name or album covers, but with a cover like the one above and a name like Hazy Mountains, you’re begging to be pigeonholed in the chillwave-electronic-glo-fi-dream-synth-pop genre extravaganza.
Bingo, I was right. And I am very glad I was, because the debut EP from German musician Julian Prott and his alter-ego, Hazy Mountains, is a joy to listen to. The songs, while full of drum machines and synthesizer melodies, are a bit more unconventional in terms of the rhythmic arrangements. In the EP’s opener, “Regret,” Prott designs a scene of percussion chaos around cosmic chords that drone and bounce off one another as the beats contain them within the song’s foundation. It certainly makes for an intriguing listen, as this characteristic is a staple throughout his music and sets him apart from others who work off of the usual formula.
A unique track on the album is “Falling Faster,” which carries an ironic title since it’s actually the slowest track rhythmically. Prott may have turned down the metronome a few BPMs, but he uses the space available to mold a track that sounds organic, as if he set the beat and improvised the melodies. It’s an enjoyable track to get lost within and provides a nice mid-album break.
My personal favorite song on Gold is the final track and the one you can grab below, “All Gone Away.” It’s beautiful build and release number that makes the most out of every second. What seems to start a bit calmer is actually Prott preparing his canvas. He builds at the mid-point and takes the intensity back a bit. By the time he reaches the last minute of his work, he is prepared to send the listener off in style with cacophony of synths and reverberated guitars built upon a thunderous tempo. It’s impressive, emotional, and well worth repeated listens to take in all that it offers.
Hazy Mountains // All Gone Away [mp3] from Gold EP