Hacker Farm – UHF (Exotic Pylon)

‘UHF’ is a brilliantly eerie follow-up to Hacker Farm’s previous ‘Poundland’ release.  I imagine the makers of this album as spittle-flecked crazy noise technicians operating from some kind of rural survivalist bunker, packed with home-brewed electronics.  It’s that sort of album; one to make your imagination run away with itself; illuminating dusty corners of the brain, corners that were best left dusty.
‘UHF’ is full of queasy listening, beginning on ‘5.29’ with a creaking of gears and a conveyor belt clanking.  Further incremental additions: a tape wheeze here, a synth blurt there, suggest something constructing itself.  Later, a beacon repeats at intervals; it’s left to the listener to decide if in warning or distress.  I favour the former, beacons didn’t do the crew of the Nostromo any favours.  ‘Deterritorial Army’ has a violent juddering stalled motorbike rhythm and sinister creeping post-punk bass line, oddly aligned with a Popul-Vuh hum.  ‘Burlington’ conjures a ghostly windswept abandoned town, a lone zombie walking repeatedly into the locked door of a blood-splattered McDonalds; the bloops on this radiophonic rumbler evoke not the vastness of space but the litter of a plundered supermarket.  ‘The Death of the Real’ offers cascading shadowy drones and machine-monk incantations.  ‘Hinkley Point’ is a quaking mass of radiation and harsh frequencies.  ‘Engine Room’ is full of hissing pipes and engine rumble; incomprehensible commands issue from unintelligible voices, ignored by the dead eyed glares of haunted submariners.  ‘Grinch’ is beat driven; it sounds propelled by chains with a cyclical quality like a failing tape loop, scarred with grit.  The best track is possibly ‘One Six Nein’ with its busted rusty techno and diseased propulsion; eruptions of noise scrape from the speakers while a voice intones what may be Hacker Farm’s manifesto, “Our hearts and minds are our own; they belong to us; they are not yours.  We reject your so called culture; we embrace the real; we inhabit the now.  This world is ours.”
This is an album sculpted from the debris of a post-boom economy: rusted trolleys in weed choked canals; tattered and urine soaked pay-day loan posters, fluttering in a non committal breeze.  A landscape made weird, dangerous and depopulated.  This is a soundtrack for the frayed edges of society, ballads for the edgelands.

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