Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hello Meteor's Weather Patterns

By Sarah Halloran

 “Just a guy making music in a forest”. That’s how Hello Meteor very modestly describes himself. I kind of want to visit that forest if it inspires music like this. If this is your first time listening to Hello Meteor, then your lucky ears are about to get the full pamper treatment. Ardent fans are also in for a treat. So, come on, give that little sideways triangle down there a gentle push and sink deep down into the warm, welcoming arms of Weather Patterns.

So, do you remember the wonderful flying scenes from ‘Flight of the Navigator’ where oceans, cityscapes and green fields are speeding by in a blur below us? Opening track ‘The Continental Shelf’ evoked these memories for some reason, and I hadn’t seen the movie in years. Strange the doors that music can unexpectedly unlock. Warm synths gently wash over this track in waves, and prepare us for the blissful ride still ahead of us - 10 tracks ahead of us in fact! Aren’t we lucky?!

My favourite track on the entire album, and it was a really difficult choice, has to be 'Harbour'. It’s just perfect in every way. Easy going, with a lighter-than-air melody, this track instantly had me closing my eyes and smiling, thinking of sitting on my favourite beach, just watching the little birds flying in and out of their rocky homes, and the water glinting as the sun made its way home beneath the horizon. Am I being a little cliched? Hell yeah! This album is going to be the soundtrack of my 2016 summer.

And on we drift on our soul-soothing quest into short, but very sweet 'Estuary'. As we are met with the somehow comforting trill of cicadas on the wind, haunting synths emerge, bringing the mood down a notch. I feel this is one for listening to in the evening, or late at night when there is nobody else around. Doesn’t music just sound so much better at night? Why is that? Technical answers welcome!

'Confetti' is the perfect follow-up, and keeps us in that down-beat, slightly melancholy groove. And then, a surprising, shimmering key change beautifully brings everything together for the next minute, until finally we reach a sublime and subdued ending.

The gorgeous, warmly familiar, and almost lullaby-like tones of 'Ambulance' are beautifully composed, and in true Hello Meteor fashion, able to stir up good or sad memories, depending on your mood. No percussion, and it’s really not necessary in the slightest, on this gently soothing, expertly mastered masterpiece.

'Do you remember?' has everything dreamwave should have - crisp kicks, floaty chords, tinkling keys and I think I may have heard a flute at one point. This puts me in mind of the track that would play out in a movie where the lead actress is going about her day, waving to neighbours, jumping in the car, carrying out errands, totally unaware that she is about to bump into the man of her dreams. Their paths cross in an accidental bump of heads at the supermarket, groceries fall to the ground, their eyes lock, and in true 80’s flick fashion, a string of hilarious events play out until they finally realise they were made for each other.

Ooh, well 'Makahoa' is a surprising little number, that’s for sure! For a track that is named after an area in Hawaii, house stabs and an almost reggae lilt were not what I was expecting at all. And you know what? It works! Is there nothing this guy can’t work with?

I’m going to cheat a little here with 'High Surf Advisory' and take some of the words from Hello Meteor’s interview with Marko on Synthetix Sundays. The almost ying and yang nature of the ocean was the inspiration here - one moment calm and tranquil, and the next frightening and formidable. Calm, but with an undertone of urgency, this is another favourite for me, and one I’ll return to often.

'Airlift' does exactly what it says in its name and makes us floaty light, lifting us high above the clouds. Up here it’s calm and peaceful, and we’ll be happy to stay up here forever and ever and ever, as we drift on a wave of sliding synths and almost ethereal choral voices.

Alas, against our will, we must return back to terra firma but thankfully it’s to laid back 'Crater', easily my second favourite track on the album. I just love the arrangement of the moody, almost ominous synths, and the crisp and clear production. 'Crater' takes a life of its own towards the end and almost growls out its closing notes. Don’t get too close. This track may bite!

It’s time to end our glorious journey, and step back into the harsh glaring headlights of real life. But don’t worry. You still have 'Only the Golden' and its gorgeous synths and joyful tinkly charm to parachute you down gently, give you a warm hug and send you on your way with some kind words.

For those Hello Meteor fans wondering if Weather Patterns stands up to the last album, The Glowing, the answer is absolutely! In fact, after a fair few plays, I’d be bold enough to say this is his best work yet! I really, really want to visit that forest!

Weather Patterns comes very, very highly recommended by Synthetix FM and is available on Hello Meteor's Bandcamp page here.

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