Lance Hoeppner, one half of progressive synth/drum duo Moser Woods, has just released his latest solo album. I AM Lance Vol.1, Harpejji Meets The Tempest is a sparse ambient album. The kind of album played late at night in deep contemplation. It feels like music out of time. Something you would have heard on the Windham Hill label in the early 70s. Or as a score for some dystopian film.
If you know Moser Woods, then you know Hoeppner is a prodigious musician creating vast, extensive works of sound that, along with drummer Rick Kinney, are all-encompassing. But on his latest release Hoeppner pares down the synths and creates his latest using only a harpejji and a DSI Tempest drum machine. What’s a harpejji you ask? It’s sort of a cross between a piano and guitar, with strings. The sound careens between ethereal folk and shadowy sci-fi sounds. It’s an engaging album, and unlike anything you’ve heard.
Musically, Harpejji Meets The Tempest keeps things subtle. Hoeppner, despite some songs veering into darker moods, has made a kind of prog album you’d hear at a Renaissance fair. The coolest renaissance fair you’ve ever been to, of course. “Not Erik Klapton’s Laila” is a gorgeously ornate track, filled with a sense of longing. The Tempest adds just the right amount of electronic touches, while allowing Hoeppner’s harpejji to pull us from our surroundings. “As If Time Gives A Damn” has some new age qualities, while the harpejji sounds like a bass guitar. I’m reminded of early Stu Hamm solo albums.
“The Weed of Trees” is an 11-minute epic that builds from gentle touches to an almost chaotic crescendo that brings to mind King Crimson. The track glitches and wanes like a robot slowly fading.
Lance Hoeppner made an album out of organic and synthetic tools. I AM Lance Vol.1, Harpejji Meets The Tempest is a strikingly original and engaging listening experience. Music that moves and entrances, all the while keeps you guessing.
‘I AM Lance Vol. 1, Harpejji Meets The Tempest’ is out now. Buy it here.