Wednesday, March 8, 2017
A couple months back when I saw Yairms live I went hunting for music for them and brushed right up alongside AlhhlA without realizing what was happening. You see, Yairms and AlhhlA are two projects that are basically intertwined in a way that it's virtually impossible to encounter one without discovering the other. In addition to putting out a split record back in 2014, Yairms and AlhhlA essentially share members and have been known to tour together quite frequently. And yet they're decidedly different projects. Where Yairms filters all their experimentalism through a folk rock lens, visual artist/drummer Andrew Levi Hiller's project is a lot tougher to classify. The best way to describe Alhhla would probably be percussion heavy art pop but even that isn't necessarily always true. "lo-love", the newest track since the split recalls the dreamy otherworldliness of Levek and similarly avoids the very notion of genre. It's a sprawling piece of intricate layering.
"Who Shall Lead" is probably the most pop leaning of AlhhlA's oeuvre and even so it's more due to it's pulsing tribal-esque rhythms than it's following any of the conventions. Featuring everything from loops and samples to angular guitar notes, the bulk of the melodic work rests on Hiller's vocals as the guitar as well as an effect incredibly reminiscent of a sitar mostly form a mesh of intriguing timbres. It's surprisingly infectious, staying with you long after it's spiraled off into silence like a desert caravan.
Despite having wrapped up a tour with Yairms, there's no telling when we'll get to hear new music from AlhhlA but one thing is clear: Andrew Levi Hiller is making music that is as fascinating to listen to as it is wildly unique. He's definitely an artist worth paying attention to and though his available output is unfortunately quite sparse, it's definitely worth coming into contact with.