Friday, February 1, 2008

Hew Mun - Scintillated Garble

Hew Mun
Scintillated Garble
(01.2008, A. Star)
Verdict = Satisfyingly Odd Sound Sculptures

In a somewhat surprising feat, A. Star compatriot Hew Mun (AKA Matthew Munn) has created the most self descriptive album title in Scintillated Garble. The album is a bizarre traverse through sparks of garbled noise undercut with melodies most likely spawned from an ogre’s wedding. If that doesn’t make sense then you are right on track. Hew Mun’s compositions could be reservedly called noise, but only in that they are supremely peculiar and, well, garbled. This isn’t however analogous to any hideous grind or dark drone. What sets Hew Mun’s brand of experimental music apart is its wonderful use of backwards melodies that seem to parade out of some alternate reality. It’s definitely a more hospitable noise if we must label it so at all. Hew Mun finds a lineage through similarly experimental noise-smiths that aren’t quite noise like Black Dice, Jan Jelinek and the earlier soundscapes of Animal Collective to name a few. Even with nods too these elder statesmen of weird, Hew Mun comes off as unique and humble. Munn, who is know to be reclusive shows on Scintillated Garble his meticulous attention to detail spreads throughout the album. The image of a boy in his room with a closet full of instruments seems to be overwhelming. Inject a few happy monsters into the mix out we have Scintillated Garble. With all the quaint simplicity and eccentricity of the album it is hard to convey how perfect this collection of songs is. Perhaps it is the charm of this inherent humility and certain innocence that drives Scintillated Garble beyond novelty and into the arena of essentiality. With every listen the album seems to snuggle closer and closer, becoming more familiar and warm while retaining its wonderful magic. It’s almost indefinable. Trying to handle it with words feels like carrying something immensely fragile and ultimately priceless. It is in this quaint and meek way that Hew Mun has created an intense classic that will become a treasure to those who embrace it. My favourite A. Star release yet and a certain fixture on my year end list.

-Mr. Thistle

Hew Mun on Virb

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