What do you get when you trade enormous mixing consoles, thousand dollar microphones, and formulaic mainstream recording processes for a couple barely tuned instruments, a smartphone, and a tablet? The Hideous Blues EP is the answer you’re looking for. DUNCAN PARK is bucking every trend of modern mainstream music with his sophomore offering. Turn on the radio and you’ll be bombarded with perfectly tuned vocals, crisp percussion and instrumental performed with robotic precision, but not here.
From start to finish this extended play reaches for ears eager to test the limits of what they’re willing to bear. The album does have a gem in the mid-album epic ‘Stung’ that opens and closes with a blitz of scratchy Cajunesque acoustic riffs before dropping into some hypnotic droning. It is by far the best landing spot for the listener that is battling scepticism brought on by the tracks that precede it.
The background noise is audible (as evidenced by conveniently singing birds that usher out ‘Stung’), stringed instruments struggle finding their notes, the vocals are dry and scratchy, and it all works within the context with the dread that peppers the track list. For instance, album opener ‘Dirt Preacher’ and closer ‘The Sun Awakens’ both benefit from the chorused detuned nature of hybrid banjo-like instruments plucking away underneath the pastoral lyrics DUNCAN PARK puts forth.
The Hideous Blues EP has the potential to infiltrate and saturate even the most rarefied of musical taste. There is an air of intimacy that breathes life into each track. You are almost there giving audience to DUNCAN PARK first hand as he presents his often bleak and honest depiction of the world to you first-hand. In most other cases Hideous Blues would be a collection of aural blemishes and obvious sonic mishaps. DUNCAN PARK, however, reconciles artistic obscurity with a certain clarity and sense of uniformity that should endear it with indie music listeners and draw in the more open minded audiophile. Whether that is the case or not, the process and presentation of the Hideous Blues certainly places it in rarefied air and deserves a willing ear.
- Published in Album Reviews