On the Horizon: Servant Boy/ Handsome Slave, HVOB.

On the Horizon: Servant Boy/ Handsome Slave, HVOB.

Stretching out for immediate hyperbole, Anna Müller could yet prove to be to Vienna what John Talabot has ceaselessly made himself out to be to Barça – the envelope-pushing experimental dance torchbearer; the city’s unsanctioned cultural ambassador. Operating under the acronymic pseudonym of HVOB (that’ll be Her Voice over Boys) alongside her suitably less vocal and thereby by default more enigmatic counterpart (or ‘colleague’ as she reticently shushes over email) Paul Wallner, the duo draw upon a rich palette of influence to innovate a gloomy picture of looming perfection. Dogs is the standout of an altogether striking début EP release: recalling those more mellifluous reflections of Trent Reznor some time around the turn of the Millennium, that’s not to say that this one sounds in any way throwback nor retrospective. The Devil and God forbid. Though neither, arguably, does The Fragile, and Dogs indeed hounds the now with insistent urgence – essential from first play. As the moniker may intimate, Müller’s candied vocals play an unmistakably focal role – the sweet stillness at the tempestuous heart of a snowy whirr of ambient house; an amalgam of Reznor’s very own How to destroy angels_ offshot, John Roberts’ seminal anti-dance effort, Glass Eights, and Andy Stott’s 2k12 breakthrough Luxury Problems. And by ‘eck is it a luxuriously spectacular recording. The softest melodiousness since Love Like a Sunset though yet more melancholic than any track yet featured in anything directed by Thomas Mars’ significant other, Sofia Coppola, it’s one to keep the hermits among us warm throughout this most bleak of midwinter hibernations.


HVOB’s Soundcloud.

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