Dot Hacker EP Out Today

Written by  Published in Album Reviews Monday, 20 February 2012 21:35


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


Last modified on Tuesday, 21 February 2012 14:11
Kelly Knapp

I grew up listening to the music my parents listened to. My mom gave me some of her “Golden Oldies” cassette tapes, and I could sit in my room for hours harmonizing with The Ronettes, and staring at Del Shannon, who I thought was a total stud in his tiny black and white photo on the glossy fold-out insert. I listened to Willie Nelson because my Dad admired him so much, and I wanted to understand what was so great about him too. My first concert wasn’t a huge life changer; I saw Inner Circle at a local Jambalaya festival in Central Florida. Their biggest hit was “Bad Boys,” the theme song to COPS. If anything, that concert should have traumatized me. But, at the time I had no comprehension of any crassness. I just remember the guitarist making eye contact with me and smiling, and feeling excitement over having a brief connection with someone who was making me dance.

It’s the same thing with listening to music with words in another language. It’s not necessary to understand words or literal meanings. It’s the way the melodies and rhythms evoke feeling. It’s like that saying about art, how you may not be able to explain it, but you know it when you see it. I can’t always describe music (although obviously, I sure as hell try to), but I know what I like when I feel it, and I think those who can evoke that feeling deserve to be acknowledged for it. That’s what I want to describe. That’s what I want to share.

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