Posted on June 10th, 2014 (9:00 am) by Theresa Flanagan

Los Angeles by way of Gainesville, Florida band Hundred Waters released their debut eponymous record on Skrillex's own label, OWSLA. Like the rest of their labelmates, Hundred Waters make electronic music. However, it's definitely not EDM. Their second record The Moon Rang Like A Bell made it onto Pitchfork's staff list of 2014's most anticipated releases. Being on the OWSLA roster has thrown Hundred Waters into a far brighter spotlight on than most folktronica groups tend to experience, but they've held up under the scrutiny well. The release of The Moon Rang Like A Bell was marked by a free three day festival held in the Arcosanti desert, with other acts including (but not limited to) How To Dress Well, Majical Cloudz, and fellow Gainesville native Kodak to Graph. Hundred Waters remain as (if not more) difficult to define on their sophomore release, while gaining momentum.

Apparently, Nicole Miglis' voice plus electronic layering equals Simon & Garfunkel, at least to my brain on "Show Me Love." The short a cappella introduction to The Moon Rang Like A Bell feels intimately sweet, but in an expansive way. As though it wouldn't sound a bit thin under the wide open sky. The Moon Rang Like A Bell is dark and layered, but in a gorgeously sweet way. The electronics used don't jolt your senses, but there is a restless undercurrent that tugs at your consciousness. The phenomena that the album title is inspired by were discovered by the seisometers placed on the moon in the early '70s by NASA. These revealed "moonquakes," which due to the moon's dry, cool and fairly rigid composition set it to vibrating like a tuning fork, instead of dying away fairly swiftly as occurs on Earth. It's definitely something to think of the next time you chance to look up at the pale orb hanging above us. Tuning forks give off clear, crystalline tones, which isn't really how this record presents itself. It's softer and rounder, full of lush, shifting layers.

The Moon Rang Like A Bell can't be easily characterized as atmospheric ambient or smooth downtempo, though it has its moments touching on each. The transitions throughout the record are smooth but not predictable, like shifting sands or the subtle but constant changes of the ocean floor. The main exception may be the sudden glitchy clarity that occurs midway through "[Animal]," which sort of throws the listener for a loop compared to the rest of the record. For the most part, the electronic aspects of Hundred Waters' music mixes smoothly and somewhat indeterminably with the organic elements, but "[Animal]" shakes up that balance, as the band wants to make sure they still have your attention two-thirds of the way through. In spite of the more upbeat and rhythmic electronics that pop out, the track remains connected with the rest of the record's mysterious aesthetic.

The Moon Range Like A Bell mixes comforting sweetness with otherworldly wonder. Beginning with "Down From The Rafters," the tempo picks up with some jauntier beats, but in an organically natural way. "No Sound," as the longest track by well over a minute, draws out a meandering fade to finish. Despite being from "The Swamp" (I can attest to the unfortunately stagnant heat and humidity here in Gainesville), Hundred Waters have a sound tinged with ethereal Scandinavian ice. Their sound is cool and soothing, in direct contrast with the muggy stickiness of their former hometown. In other words, the refreshingly cool temperatures during the 10:30 p.m. desert release show couldn't have been better suited.

Speaking of the release show in Arcosanti, Hundred Waters have teamed up with BitTorrent Bundles to offer up some free materials for your enjoyment. The bundle featured on BitTorrent will get you a couple free tracks off the new record, along with bonus track "Nowhere," a lyric booklet and some other media. The FORM Acrosanti Bundle has even more to offer: tracks from each of the other artists that performed, along with Hundred Waters self-titled debut and a couple remix EPs. Check out The Moon Rang Like A Bell streaming on Soundcloud. Check out tour dates here and see if Hundred Waters is headed your way!

Track List:

  1. Show Me Love
  2. Murmurs
  3. Cavity
  4. Out Alee
  5. Innocent
  6. Broken Blue
  7. Chambers (Passing Train)
  8. Down From The Rafters
  9. [Animal]
  10. Seven White Horses
  11. Xtalk
  12. No Sound
Hundred Waters: The Moon Rang Like A Bell
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

80 / 100
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