After a seven year hiatus, Sam Grawe AKA Hatchback gracefully
returns with his third album ‘Year of The Dragon’ for Lo Recordings,
presented via gatefold vinyl and CD / digital. As the third entry in his
fictitious California Cosmic Sound Series (following ‘Colors Of The Sun’
and ‘Zeus & Apollo’), ‘Year Of The Dragon’ continues Grawe’s personal
exploration of the vast horizons of electronica, prog-rock, Balearic
rhythms and New Age atmospheres.
Hatchback emerged from a youth spent on planes with Walkman in
hand, a deep love for synthesizers developed at an early age, no record
bin left un-flipped-through, and over a decade marinating in heady
Northern California. It is music that is as unassuming as it is cosmic,
and as contemporary as it is timeless.
‘Year of The Dragon’ offers four long-playing tracks (6 including the
2 digital exclusive tracks), and listeners will be comforted by the
classic analog sounds of Hatchback taken to both new heights and new
depths. They will be thrown straight into the passenger seat; set adrift
through misty hillsides and sun-soaked seascapes.
The opening track ‘Evening Mountain’ sets the scene of a cool haze
settling deeply into a lush hillside as night descends; glittering melodic
arps weave in and out between thick pads as a murky saxophone
coaxes the off kilter drums into formation. A progressive crescendo of
electronics gives way to the slide guitar of Scott Hirsch (Hiss Golden
Messenger, Echo Magic).
Inspired by an underground headphone trip through Tokyo, ‘Onarimon’
offers a levitating ambience akin to masters Eno and Budd. Gradual
and delicate pads, bright melodies, and shimmering guitar pyrotechnics
from Kensuke Saito (9dw) reflect the glimmering neon of the
distant megacity above.
‘Humidity Report 1976,’ created with Dan Judd (Sorcerer, Windsurf),
picks up the pace and encompasses the richness of Hatchback’s
vision. Dreamy harmonies, synth melodies seemingly pulled from a
70’s French soundtrack, pulsing bass, and heavy swung drums come
together to ignite a steaming cauldron of sound.
The album concludes with the epic title track. ‘Year Of The Dragon’
steers the journey through a steadily evolving landscape, the likes of
which Hatchback has never taken us to before—starting somewhere
within the new age bin, and ending in a fury of drums and distortion.
Digital exclusive tracks ‘Haiphong Boogie’ and ‘Creamwave Dreamcave’
wouldn’t sound completely out of place on a discerning dance floor,
but may sound even better blasting out of a fast moving vehicle on a
motorway at night.
‘Year of The Dragon’ ushers in the next phase of the Hatchback story –
a story with more chapters to come.