by HL

  • Streaming + Download

    A release from about 2006 under the alias of HL. and HL only no mention of the other alias. The record had lots going on on it. The title 'Takuma' is after the formula 1 driver Takuma Sato, who drove in an interesting way when he was in formula 1. Alot of my work has alot to do with roads and journeys. Most of my films and music relate to travel. This record is no different.
    Though the lyrics and the feeling is fairly downbeat, this was due to situations in my personal life at the time. Something which comes out alot in my work.

    It was released in 2006 after the full length record 'Moving' and had mixed reviews. Some that i have included here.

    The tenth No Ground-R release is signed HL and is entitled “Takuma”. I’m not 100% sure but I think it safe to say that this release would be the first to bear a Formula 1 driver’s name and even if that’s not the case surely it must be the first time for Takuma Sato? As any serious racing fan would know he is not the most successful driver in Formula 1. “Twenty Years” starts of the ambient four-tracker, the pulsating “Nowhere but Here” follows it. The beatless “Autumn Leaves ” and finally “Your Ghost Still Haunts Me” and its slowly mumbling narrative. This release also includes “Fields That Speak” a 3-inch DVD with visual work made by the artist in question. HL is Dan Hopkins. Investigate this release and you just might get surprised driving your: car, bike, board, underground, airplane, rocket, bus, pace car, boat, submarine, train or mind.


    HL - Takuma / Fields That Speak
    (No Ground-R ng-r10)
    CD-R & DVD-R
    I'm more familiar with HL (Dan Hopkins) through his Eno-esque ambient work that I've reviewed previously in ECReviews so this sparse, minimalist and beat filled addition to his catalogue came as a real shock. If you were to think of a chilled out Boards of Canada then you'd be close. It's derived from Dan's love of Formula One racing and in particular the, slightly rubbish, Formula One driver Takuma Sato. I like the irony of music this slow being inspired by a racing car driver but if he continues to inspire homages this good I hope he carries on driving for years.
    Accompanying the album is a short (but nicely formed) DVD tribute to the Somerset Levels (in the South West of England) where Dan grew up. In the film he is paying homage to the minutiae of the Levels. Indeed the more successful parts are those where he gets up close and personal with his subject using long static shots that force the viewer to examine the image. It's at these points that the ambiguity of both the sounds and the images meld in the way that I suspect was HL's intention. The music is sparse, minimalist, keyboard driven ambient perfectly suited to the mood of the film. What is less successful are the longer shots which come across too much like holiday snaps, their duration on the screen isn't justified by their composition. Fortunately these are few and the rest is well worth this minor quibble.


    HL - Takuma / Fields that speak (No Ground-R)

    Dan Hopkins returns with a couple of 3-inch discs (a CD and a DVD). "Takuma" is dedicated to Japanese Formula One driver Takuma Sato, sort of eternal loser. The four tracks are mostly based on skips, extraneous noise and convulsive rhythms breaking a general sense of calmness, the whole enhanced by deep drones, (s)low guitar arpeggios and pinched crystals, an atmosphere of meagre oneirology at times spotted by voices and external interference. "Field that speak" is a 10-minute film that depicts particulars of the Somerset Levels and Moors, the places where Hopkins grew up and that, according to him, haven't changed since his childhood. Trees, grass and clouds are observed by a fixed camera accompanied by an austere and pretty obscure soundtrack based on droneyish ambient music, mostly revolving around tantalizing low frequencies that electrostatics and various hisses contribute to tangle a little bit. The DVD also contains a data section with a few extras (more films, the soundtrack as a MP3 and "various source materials"). A nice helping of good multimedia art by a talented man.


    Cinematic electronica with a postrock-ish feel from Dan Hopkins aka HL, hailing from Somerset UK. This release consists in a 3" cd + a 3" dvd. The cd is called "Takuma" and blends one part of Dan Abrahms' (aka Shuttle 358) gentle structured glitch obsessions with one part of Hapna-like use of analogue sounds, nothing new under the sun but who cares when the sound-design is so good and carefully held together? The 3" dvd is even better than the audio one, the soundtrack is a beautiful long ambient piece and it shows different static shots of a landscape where the artist grew up. Heartfelt and well executed. Thumbs up for Dan.

    ... more




released July 20, 2010



all rights reserved