Playlist: Kevin Hufnagel

Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel likes to stay busy. He is perhaps most known for his work in long-running, progressive instrumental rock trio Dysrhythmia, ambient guitar project Byla, and his own solo guitar recordings. Kevin is now also a member of avant-death metal band Gorguts, and the more recent dreamy, dark rock quartet Vaura (also featuring Kayo Dot's Toby Driver), whose debut album Selenelion is expected for an October release via Wierd Records. Some samples of his solo guitar material can be heard at

These are some records I was jamming last week (I'm also gonna knick Ryan Lipynsky's idea from his playlist entry, and include YouTube links for reference):

Virus The Agent That Shapes The Desert - When I first heard Scott Walker's The Drift, I thought "Wouldn't it be cool if there was a band that wrote a whole album sort of like the first track on this record?" Virus must've thought the same thing. The eerie, arpeggiated chords, odd rhythms, deep bass, and off-kilter crooning vocals... an acquired taste for sure, but so tasty to those with such taste.

Queensryche Rage for Order - This band has gone completely downhill to greater and greater degrees since the early-90's, but once upon a time in 1986 they created a visionary recording by the name of Rage for Order. It's hard to convince my younger friends, or those who weren't already exposed to this record during it's time, that it's worth checking out, but it is! Mixing cold, industrial textures and vocal effects with progressive metal riffs, a sort of gothic/new wave atmosphere, and super-solid songwriting; in the mid-80's, no other metal band dared or even dreamed to make a record like this. Interesting side-note, Dave Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy fame co-engineered this record. Which leads me to...

Skinny Puppy "all their 80's stuff" - Every couple of years, usually during the summer, I'll just want to listen to tons of old Skinny Puppy. I find their 80's material really inspiring... and such engulfing headphones material. I'm also convinced Nivek Ogre was doing black metal-style vocals in this band before any actual black metal bands were doing them. The stuff I heard since their reunion was hugely disappointing though.

Brutality Screams of Anguish - An early 90's Florida death metal obscurity that completely went under my radar until recently. Though certainly "brutal", their name is slightly misleading, as there's also a nice bit of melodicism, technicality, and dynamics going on here. They also have some really nice doomy moments as well.

Lycia Wake - Halfway through high school I met a fella who went on to become the original bassist in Dysrhythmia, who was into all sorts of obscure, dark music I had never heard of before. His collection was my introduction, more or less, into the world of goth rock, shoegaze, and ambient music. Lycia was one of the groups I checked out first, but for some reason I never picked up their debut album until recently. Wake might be my favorite now. It's more raw and bass line/drum machine driven than any of their other records. I've always loved the distorted synth-like guitar tones they implied in all their songs as well. Good bedtime music.

Bob Theil So Far - This record is godly! Seriously, if you have any interest in heartbreakingly sad, gorgeous 70's folk music, then check this guy out. An album that consists almost entirely of Mr. Theil's aching, but smooth voice, and intricate 12-string acoustic fingerstyle guitar playing. Occasionally, some electric guitar and percussion is added at key moments, and very tastefully. Sadly, he hasn't released much since this recording, and what he has is painfully hard to find.

Bailter Space Robot World - An early 90's lost shoegaze/indie rock gem of an album, that I stumbled across recently on some blog. A bit more noisy and harsh than most bands in that genre, which is always a plus in my book. Really hypnotic and sensual stuff.

Akercocke Antichrist - This is a really weird band. Primarily a death metal act, they still draw from a lot of other outside genres. You wouldn't expect it to go well, but since the overall atmosphere is dark, it still works. I could do without some of the cheesy spoken word bits on this record (or any record for that matter), but these guys have a lot of interesting musical ideas. Just listen to the song "Axiom" in the link below. 12 string acoustic guitars, hyper blasts, and crooning, clean vocals all at once. Pretty killer.

New Model Army Small Town England - One of my all-time favorite bands. I love every record they've done -- maybe the 80's ones more so, but much like Killing Joke, they're another UK band that been around over 30 years, and still putting out quality records. I discovered NMA through thrash band Anacrusis' stunning cover of "I Love the World". This record is a double CD compilation of the their earliest releases, and a Peel session. These guys have the perfect blend of powerful songwriting, energy, and cool arrangements. Their original bassist was especially unique, writing some really busy and prominent lines.

1 comment:

Rajen Bhatt said...

BRUTALITY youtube vid got removed.