Rain In Europe
(Burning Witches Records)
In the Dutch underground electronica scene, Lars Meijer, aka Hunter Complex, has reached a cult status. Lars has been composing electronic, synth-based music for other 30 years, beginning by experimenting with synthesizer and putting his music out on homemade cassettes in the late 80’s. In the 90s as “Larz” Meijer released a couple of lo-fi electronic pop albums, and around 2000, along with Coen Oscar Polack and Jantijn Prins, Meijer formed Psychon Troopers, an electro-acoustic band mixing improvised and composed music who’ve released six albums. Around the same time, Meijer set up the label Narrominded and, along with Polack, formed the experimental lo-fi electronica duo Living Ornaments, a group for the more abstract side of Meijer and Polack’s musical outputs.
In 2008, Lars started recording his solo output under the moniker of Hunter Complex. In 2010, the Narrominded label released Hunter Complex, self titled, debut. A synth-pop and 80s new wave influenced album. In 2013, the follow up album Heat was released. A time capsule from the early 80s, awash with hypnotic techno-pop melodies and film score themes. We had to wait till 2019 for the Death Waltz label to release the critically acclaimed Open Sea, an album rich in warm, bright layered synths. In 2020, Dead Calm and Zero Degrees was released on Burning Witches Records, an album that is thematically similar to Open Sea as it was recorded at the same time, the ten tracks drenched in the wonderful nostalgic synthesizer sound that has become Hunter Complex’s trademark. On Dead Calm and Zero Degrees, Hunter Complex composes musical dreams cinematic, bright, fresh and warm. A sonically rich soundscape complex in its layers, yet deceptively simple in its hooks and rhythms and capable of filling a dance floor.
On May Day, Hunter Complex’s Rain In Europe EP was released. If you bought Dead Calm and Zero Degrees on Bandcamp, the EP was included, or it can be purchased from Burning Witches Records site.
Rain In Europe mines the same deep veins as the previous albums. The EP opens with “Street Value”, a gentle, positive opening track that builds up subtle patterns and layers towards a wistfully retro drum pattern that jams the song out. “When I Was In Africa” plays around with, almost, industrial sounding drum beats, with a decidedly hypnotic, metallic rhythm, robotic in nature until the blissful, swirling, building synths wrap around the rhythm, like a favourite blanket. “Coral Way” is full on early-80s synth nostalgia, a lost or imagined soundtrack that makes you hope that Lars Meijer might be approached to score a film. “Sleep Wave” is a delicious blend of synthwave and synth pop. There’s an intriguing feeling of two similar songs running simultaneously: together in rhythm and with very similar pads but with the crossfader being nudged expertly between them.
The EP ends on exceptional synth pop number “Television Sky”, which is designed to get the feet moving: a bass line driven classic. This is the upbeat, 80s soundtrack moment when boy gets girl or girl gets boy, the positive future moment applauded by squelchy beats and a bubbling bass. A truly infectious dance song.
Rain In Europe will only help to cement Lars Meijer’s cult status as one of the most innovative and interesting electronic composers. As Hunter Complex, his music is definitely nostalgic. If you’re not interested in synthwave music that’s tinged with an early 80s sound, then try something from Meijer’s other projects. However, if you think synth pop and synthwave never sounded better than on that old VHS tape, then you are in for an absolute treat.
Favorite track: “Television Sky”
You can purchase Hunter Complex’s Rain In Europe here.
David Soulscorch is a music lover & music geek, radio fanatic, and sci-fi & horror fan who enjoys a spot of gardening & all thing Fortean.