‘God’s hand’ is something that, theoretically, touches us all, which is what New York-based producer Nick Koenig—better known as Hot Sugar—intends to do with his first album, a wholly unique instrumental journey through everyday life.
Koenig makes associative music, using a production technique that involves recording the seemingly mundane sounds and noises encountered every day and using them to create instruments (a baby crying becomes a synth, bones hitting together become a drum), turning these banal sounds into music. This technique, according to Koenig’s AssociativeMusic.Com webpage, aims to elicit a Pavlovian reaction from the listener, positing that the emotional connection we have to sounds exists even after they have been extensively manipulated. Upon listening to the LP, this seems to ring true. Koenig’s compositions are truly mesmerizing. The second last song, the heart wrenching “No One Will Know Where I Went,” sounds at once like the moment where a film’s protagonist realizes that everything will be alright, and the moment where they realize nothing will. This is followed by the shoegaze twang of album closer “You’ll See Them In Your Sleep,” a song that invokes images of the countryside on a warm summer’s night. Album highlight “Dead Inside” is a dance floor ready song that could very well bring you to tears. “Athena” is the soundtrack to the most beautiful nightmare you’ve ever had. The album flows beautifully from track to track, a body of work that is best enjoyed in its entirety. Each track is so dense, filled with dizzying synths and excited drums, it is easy to forget that all of the sounds you are hearing started as field recordings. (Break World Records, breakworldrecs.com) Mike Skwark