HTRK / Tropic Of Cancer: Part Time Punks Radio Sessions
- It’s hard not to have a great deal of admiration for HTRK. For starters, they just rock their own sound: I mean, until a couple of months ago how many darkwave / electro / industrial bands do you know were making a go of it? Not only do they do that, but they move around the world from Melbourne to Berlin to London and LA and everywhere they go they sign with ice-cold-cool recording companies – Fire / Blast First / Ghostly International – and hook up with all the finest collaborators.
That’s just really obvious from their latest little 12”, which they share with their Californian cousins in sound, Tropic Of Cancer. That’s pretty sweet by itself, but the context of this live recording is at least as good: sent out across the airwaves of KLXU by the highly culty radio show (which also stretches to an equally culty LA club night) Part Time Punks. Speaking to HTRK’s Nigel Yang about the recording he confided in quietly reserved tones that he’d long wanted to lay down a live set for release. Until now he’s never felt happy with the quality of any live recording HTRK have attempted, but the Part Time Punks session has finally found his tick of approval.
You can hear why. The tracks, three well-known cuts off Marry Me Tonight and Work (Work, Work) beginning with Fascinator, all have added fuzzy warmth floating around the cold 808 beats, lilting synths and Jonnine’s vox. HTRK are the kind of band where the subtle infidelities of live recording actually add a certain something and the result is good to listen to. Tropic Of Cancer are – by contrast – ever so slightly more dreamy (in their vocals) and more driving (in their beats) and it makes for a subtle but pleasant distinction.
It reminds me too; HTRK’s third full-length is due next year. The band are engaged in post-production right now and doing some limited Australian touring as well. Nigel has promised that HTRK too will be bringing some faster beats, perhaps even doing something that’s (in it's own special way) a bit dancey. The only other things I know are that Throbbing Gristle’s Cosey Fanni Tutti will be making an appearance, as will experimental American novelist Blake Butler doing some spoken word and also that the record will be produced by Excepter’s Nathan Corbin.
You can see some of Corbin’s work right now on the cover of the current 12”: an exceptionally haunting still taken from the video for HTRK’s Bendin’ which he directed. The Part Time Punks Radio Sessions is a great little tide-me-over until the new album. The vinyl arrived in the mail today, holding it in my hands I am reminded again: it really is hard not to have a great deal of admiration for HTRK.
- Chris Cobcroft.