EP: Lights Out by HANGTIME


The latest release from Hangtime comes ready with glassy textures, industrial soundscapes, stabbing synths, and intricate production that would compare favorably with some of electronica’s bigger names like Prodigy or The Chemical Brothers, but with a decidedly more eclectic persona unique to the eclectic duo.

 A twosome that hails from Socorro, New Mexico, and Seattle, Washington, Hangtime has got the hang of creating experimental electronica that’s far from alienating to the casual listener, and their latest EP ‘Lights Out’ is a testament to that skill. On ‘Lights Out’ the duo draw from a wide range of influences, both sonic, aesthetic, and visual, to draw together three tracks that span from the chill Trip Hop of Massive Attack to the pulsating experimentations of Aphex Twin, and doing so with confidence, and electrified grace.

 The short offering starts gently with the stabbing ‘pwn-age’. Wholly instrumental, this first cut starts with a quirky melody on dry-sounding synths before the acidic, gliding sub-bass comes roaring in. The intricate rhythms are dense while remaining easy to follow, and the cyclic harmonies are consistently engaging, with the relentless repetition making them hypnotic. Gradually increasing in length, and scope, the band follows with the title track. The Massive Attack influence is sharpest on ‘lights out’, at least to my ears, and specifically their 100th Window era, arguably their most hypnotizing and drawn out. The cut comes with more intricately layered grooves, this time more brooding with the slow tempo and more acidic textures. The processed vocals are eerie and suitable, the nuclear waste sub bass is menacing, fitting to the chosen chords, and running for nearly five minutes, this piece is a testament to the duo’s ability to grab the attention with what seems at a surface level like minimalistic mixes with few elements. With a track inspired by Aphex Twin, and another by Massive Attack, Hangtime pulls another one with the final track ‘Imadeit’, this time probably inspired by The Chemical Brothers’ more hip and groovy electronica, visible via the more straightforward grooves. ‘Imadeit’ is more than 6 minutes long, and during this time the duo takes us on a rhythmic trip that moves through different sections with fluidity that’s hard to pull off. But the duo does it, going from the jungle grooves to the funk grooves, to the interjecting phases of relative silence or pounding arrangements. Doing so, the duo has got a few chords and acidic pads, and a few processed vocal samples to lean on. From such few elements, the duo manages to keep the attention on their soundscapes effortlessly going for the relatively longer runtime.

 The latest offering from ‘hangtime is immersive, varied, and consistently high quality. Richly produced and nuanced, the only gripe I had with the EP was the uninspired cover art which seems to be inspired by some early 2000s Japanese anime. But I guess I can be wrong, and I also guess that if you’re here for the music (and you most probably are) you are not going to be disappointed.