Album review -
MARCH 16, 2021 BY THE ARK OF MUSIC
Based in Rochester, NY, artist Jeffrey Hull has taken his time deciding on the right moniker for his music. He’s released fifty albums under various names, including JiBaH, Hania Yiska. Mad Hugs, and Nostalgic Afterlife, and has over 20 years of experience of producing and creating electronic music. He’s currently working under the name Clear Sun (in hopes of spreading positive vibes, he tells us), and his most recent project is an electronic instrumental album titled Hidden Room Dream. Inspired by Hull’s dreams of a secret room that would serve as an escape from the stresses of life, this album mirrors that concept, creating a fully immersive and complex experience that is nothing short of transportive.
HERE’S WHAT WE DUG MOST…
On Hidden Room Dream, it appears that Clear Sun has a masterful grasp on creating vibrant, dynamic soundscapes that are cohesive and blended while still maintaining a distinct collection of parts and textures. We see this right away on the opening track Nostalgic Nights – bright and ethereal synths drive this track’s constant, familiar melody, backed by a rotation of rotating rhythms and
One of the highlights of this record is the regular variation of sounds while maintaining familiarity. Many electronic producers gravitate towards the same tones and instruments a bit too often, creating a sort of monotonous listening experience. Not on this album. Each track is a bold sonic experience that embraces an array of different instrumentation, though Hull does feature some repeating synth tones across the project. For example, we get the spacey, heavy, and at times grungy feel of Seconds to Dream juxtaposed against the piano-led and much more nuanced Sight of Heaven. The tracks flow together without ever sounding too similar, keeping the listener engaged the whole way through.
Another standout on the album is She Told Me To Leave. Featuring a cascading and punchy array of cosmic and industrial sounds, this song features layers upon layers of varying instruments – listen through a few times, and you’ll likely pick up something different each time you do. Each of the most prominent lines in this track seems to sort of “vibrate” at a slightly different frequency, allowing the melodies to build and release tension as they move between synchronous and asynchronous – an artistic and successful tactic.
OUR FAVORITE TRACK…
The album concludes with Here at Last at Home, and its grand arrangement of strings and piano over the unquestionably modern beat grabs your attention right away. Seemingly composed with the grandiose conclusion of a well-executed album in mind, this track is big and anthemic in its production. The main melody here has a particularly cinematic feel – it brings to mind images of a hard-fought, satisfying conclusion of a Hollywood blockbuster. A great melding of classical, familiar sounds among modern production.
Intricate in composition and performance but unified in production – Hidden Room Dream is the kind of project that can only come from an artist with true experience in this genre. It’s no easy feat to create vibrant, evocative instrumental music, but the work Hull is doing as Clear Sun is exactly that. This album is a bright and entertaining foray through a captivating forest of electronic sounds, and it will resonate with anyone with an appreciation for high-level electronica.