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Hunee Hunch Music Rush Hour


There’s been a rhizomatic spread of ‘retro-futuristic’ house and techno over the past few years. It’s seen producers like Legowelt, Xosar and Hunee uncoordinatedly coalesce around an ethereal, mystical, but above all melodic sound. This sound owes more to house’s earliest days than the mid-90s New Jersey aesthetic that’s been so popular of late; appealing to the language and texture of religiosity, rather than partying and sex. While there’s no marked schism between the two strands, and a lot of blurring between them, there’s an identifiable current of dance music that tends towards the spiritual.

Hunee is one actor in this trend. As a DJ, Choi draws on a broad range of disco, soul, techno, house – even jazz. Amid the eclecticism, perhaps the one unifying theme is that all his records are important to him, and this is mirrored in his own productions. His debut album touches on a similarly expansive spectrum of music, but feels identifiably Hunee; coherent, and deeply personal, with track names like Amo (Admiration), Rare Happiness and Bruises suggesting deeper meanings we can only guess at.

Opener Woods is an atmospheric conjuring of layered synths, bobbling, polyrhythmic vibraphones and tick-tock claps, woozy and invigorating at the same time. There’s then an expertly-paced build for eight tracks, of which Error of the Average and Hiding the Moon are obvious, club-friendly highlights. The former, especially, is endowed with the lush production of a Levon Vincent or Oni Ayhun record, which is about as high as praise gets. There are also times of simple beauty to match the ‘bigger’ tracks, as in Amo, where a Philip Glass-like phrase is repeated and looped with its accompaniment creating a suspense that’s never quite resolved, only faded out.

The Sun Ra-sampling closer The World returns to the eerie sound- scape of the intro, except this time, climaxing in joyous reverie. It’s a fitting end to an excellent album that avoids both overfamiliar dance music tropes, and the precociousness that some find stifling in more ‘avant-garde’ music. Even “the end of the world”, as the sample repeatedly says, can be spiritual and uplifting in Choi’s hands.