hypergiant

-a star with an enormous mass and luminosity. Hypergiants are the largest stars in the universe, even larger than supergiants.

Hypergiant was released for public enjoyment on the 3rd of March 2017, courtesy of the Cape-Townian virtuoso-duo. Magic spills, and listeners are swept away in a 69minute score ranging from gentle ambient and field recording pieces to seven-minute-long kwaito and dance tracks. An original path represented as experimental electronica/shoegaze/ambient/ drone/dream pop/Afrotronica/Gqom and Kwaito. Seems a little befuddling, but the record is impeccably produced, musically pristine and caressingly gentle on the ears. Musical purists may have to allow an exception for this one, but only because it is that good

Jeremy de Tolly (vocals, synths) & Tom Glendinning (Ableton Live, Live Visuals) are the names behind the audio-visual group Original Swimming Party (OSP). Glendinning explains  “On Hypergiant, soaring chord patterns meander through tales of the joys and sorrows of human existence, getting older and the power of letting go (Chords); loneliness and celibacy (Skin Upon Skin) and having a good time amidst existential doubt (Darkest Hour).”

The record retains the overarching sense of life in a time of impending apocalypse – both ecologically and sociologically – tethered all the while to themes of celebration, healing and redemption. Woven in and out of the music are field recordings from the band’s everyday lives around the City of Cape Town, including unique binaural recordings of the hidden water tunnels underneath the Cape Town CBD (featured in the track ‘Camissa’).

Original Swimming Party produce, mix and master their own work, between them providing extra instrumentation such as guitar, piano, synthesizer, live drums & percussion. Their live show includes projected visuals that tightly integrate with the music via MIDI & audio sync. Intimately involved in each element of production, they create their own visual material through design, code & film as well as sourcing inspired content from world-class collaborators.

A handful of estimable guest artists make the musicianship of the album even more seamless: Greg Abrahams (guitar), Keenan Ahrends (guitar), Gene Kierman (French horn) and Ryan McArthur (bass guitar). Boston-based visual artist Kevin Townsend, lends his gift to the cover art, creating a series of drawings and artwork based on the theme of Hypergiant.

The word speaks true – HYPERGIANT.