Thursday, March 15, 2018

All Around Sound Is Eight! Bonus: AlhhlA

photo by Jon Blair
By far one of my most favorite discoveries of the past year was Arizona based multi-instrumentalist Andrew Levi Hiller. Originally introduced to him while tracking down details about Yairms as the band's drummer, it didn't take much research for me to discover he made music of his own under the moniker AlhhlA. Though originally the only music from Hiller was two songs on part of a split with Yairms as well as a series of live loops featured on both Hiller's Youtube and Soundcloud, last year saw the release of an EP, the four song 8oNitsSidE, as well as the re-release of "Will the Soft Curse Plague On?", the debut full length from Hiller previous project The Wizards of Time. Right before the release of both, Hiller found his way to New York to visit as well as lay down tracks for a new Yairms record and I had the opportunity to meet him as well as experience his dynamic live show. Right after meeting him for the first time, as we talked about life, art, and music, I instantly knew I would ask Hiller to contribute to this year's blog birthday.

The main problem being that Hiller doesn't currently own a computer, I still felt compelled to ask though and Hiller, ever the good sport made me an offer I couldn't refuse: "Can I do a cover?".  It was a question no one had ever really posed to me before eschewing the normal mix making process to more personally celebrate their favorite music. I of course agreed and Hiller spent the next couple days teasing me with snippets of possible covers he was working on before ultimately emailing me his cover of Modern English's "I Melt With You". It's one of my favorites and one that's been covered a smattering of times from Bowling For Soup to Natalie Imbruglia to Laura Stevenson, and like all good covers, Hiller's folds the song into his particular style. When I asked why he sent that particular cover he responded: "It is the first cover I ever learned. It was one of those songs that I would hear when I was a kid that made me stop what I was doing to listen. It was released the year I was born.". Hiller's version is simple and rather straightforward but filled with little textural goodies and glancing harmonies alongside Hiller's trademark vocal wisp and almost percussive guitar playing. It's charmingly intimate, delivered in a whispered hush like a lovelorn confession or the sweet caress of softly uttered sweet nothings.

Thanks to AlhhlA for their contribution to this year's blog birthday and putting their own personal stamp on our yearly proceedings.

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