Lars Meijer has had a pretty amazing song cycle over the last nearly two years. It started in early 2019 with the release of Open Sea on Death Waltz Originals. Then just two months ago he dropped that album’s follow-up, Dead Calm and Zero Degrees on Burning Witches Records. The songs from both LPs were recorded together during the same writing phase, so while they were each very unique in sound and mood, there was a sonic thru line. A connectivity in the retro-futuristic vibes and neon, late night grooves.
As possibly a means of closing a very fruitful musical chapter, Meijer, aka Hunter Complex, bids this song cycle a fond adieu with the EP Rain In Europe. A five-track mini-suite taken from the same sessions but were never used on a release until now. It’s a gorgeous collection of dreamy, inspired melodies that reflect the overall late night vibes of what came before.
If you’re at all familiar with Hunter Complex’ previous two releases then this EP will be a welcome world of sound. If you’re not familiar, then you really should fix that. Hunter Complex is currently making some of the best electronic music being produced; part Jan Hammer, part Mark Isham, and just a touch of early 80s Tangerine Dream. But there is nothing derivative in Hunter Complex, as Lars gives his work a hefty dose of soul that you hear too little of in this genre. Simply put, Meijer is a master at what he does.
Though these three releases were culled together with songs all written and recorded in the same time frame, each is very distinct in its moods. This shows how well Meijer stitched each record’s playlist together. Open Sea felt to me like a daytime record, while Dead Calm and Zero Degrees was more of a nighttime album. Rain In Europe feels like the definitive period at the end of sentence. It’s a collection of end credit pieces, and “Street Value” feels very much like a song of fading sentiment. A goodbye for now. Emotive synths and big percussive hits with a decidedly 80s flair. “When I Was In Africa” is a very visceral track with New Order/Pet Shop Boys vibes. This is very much a dance track, and a damn fine one. “Coral Way” has a dream-like quality to it, walking the line between dream pop and ambient. There’s such light and weightlessness to this song. It’s like you don’t want it to ever end.
Elsewhere “Sleep Wave” feels like a song beginning to take flight. It’s a gradual ascension into the clouds, leaving the world behind for unknowns. “Television Sky” closes this set out with touches of ambient tones that work into a digital disco beat. More touches of 80s vibes give us this alternate history of music we can fall into. If you close your eyes you could swear you heard these songs many years ago on a car radio going to nowhere in-particular.
Rain In Europe is the proper goodbye to this phase of Hunter Complex. I’m excited to see where Lars takes his music from here, but I will quite often revisit the trifecta of Open Sea, Dead Calm and Zero Degrees, and Rain In Europe. It’s an epic run, and one I won’t soon forget.
8.2 out of 10
Buy Rain In Europe through Burning Witches Records here.