Today Dot Hacker drops their new digital EP, with a full debut album on the horizon (“we promise!!!” according to their Twitter). The band is the project of current Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and friends Clint Walsh, Eric Gardner and Jonathan Hischke, who are all well known musicians, having toured with artists like Beck, PJ Harvey, and Butthole Surfers. The name Dot Hacker initially made me think of the 90s movie Hackers, and there are some glitch noises in the four songs that would definitely have improved the ambiance of the movie had they been included on the soundtrack. As for the Dot…perhaps it’s about fragmented thoughts, shadows, spaces, angles, final endings, but then something always comes after to begin a new thought…
It’s easy to feel lost and grounded at the same time when listening to this four song EP. Like how “Order/Disorder” starts off with just vocals and simple distorted guitar chords, then the rest of the pieces come in and twist and fracture and come together again before breaking loose within the last minute, much in the same style as Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android.” There are also elements throughout the EP reminiscent of Air, and for much of the same reasons the French duo chose that moniker. At the same time, the songs are Sigur Ros-esque in much of the atmosphere and floating vocals, and like a more spatial Suuns. It’s what your shadow would whisper to you in a black and white film.
Dot Hacker’s experimental rock is distorted but minimal, and functions in the way that there is as much importance on the spaces between the sounds as the sounds themselves. The bass is the most minimal aspect, so subtle that it just barely grounds the ethereal drifting of all the other pieces. If it was possible to capture what it sounds like to play through underground tunnels in anti-gravity, Dot Hacker may have done it.
“Eye Opener” is the standout slow gem (see what I did there?) that was made to make like the opposite of the song title through headphones, or in a car. Or better yet, sitting in the backseat of a car while on a road trip, listening with your own headphones while watching the scenery fly past. It’s definitely more powerful as solitary listening, as it sounds best when it has your full attention to thoroughly appreciate the perfectly fuzzed lines between notes against a stark background of Klinghoffer’s soaring vocal melody.
This is the kind of EP that will reflect your mood back at you. It has the ability to intensify your feelings and outlook to either be magic or brutal. Klinghoffer’s voice can be like a lullaby, or like menacing voices in your head. The songs will be your mirror and your projection. It will be the music on loop in your ipod that you can play over and over because it continues to capture your moods.
Image by Geoff Moore