‘2182kHz’ by Hello World is a defiant stand against the dark.
Thematically, ‘2182kHz’ (released via prominent European netlabel Data Airlines) is steeped in hope through community. Powerful, omnipresent percussive terrors are dismantled piece by piece by evolving gutsy melodies that cultivate faith despite overwhelming ambience from diametrically opposing forces.
The frequency 2182kHz is undoubtedly in reference to the medium frequency radiotelephone signal once reserved for international calling and distress abandoned around 1999 (with the US Coast Guard notably continuing to monitor the frequency until late 2013) due to the advent of technology rendering it obsolete. Much comes to mind with such a thematic springboard: the lives saved through its use, those who monitor(ed) such frequencies hoping never to be needed, and souls shouting into radios praying that someone on the other end will come to their aid.
Overall, the tone of ‘2182kHz’ is one of tumultuousness. the dichotomy between progress and danger is represented through the use of purposefully disconnected melodies that embody a culture of spin and misrepresentation while bass lines and percussions continue their work: the ever-present march of development at any cost, unmoved by consequence. The symbolism is frighteningly on point, and Happy World succeeds in its storytelling while delivering intriguing musicality with subtle, unpretentious showmanship.
Titles across this powerful album reference moments in our history when manmade chemicals or technology resulted in devastating harm to vast communities of people:
- Reactor 4
- Agent Orange
- Deepwater Horizon
Together with the album’s title, ‘2182kHz’ highlights several disasters from our recent past that were all created by humans and serve as reminders that “…our actions and motions will forever affect life around us…” and to consider how the consequences of our short-term actions will ripple and impact the future.
A highlight of several exceptional tracks continues below:
‘Reactor 4 (Parts 1 & 2)’ waste absolutely no time setting the tone for the album with part 1’s momentary suspenseful lull followed by an explosive instrumental opener, then immediately launching into part 2’s full-force chaotic thrust into a cataclysmic fanfare of electric guitar and synth horn culminating in a single fading cymbal clash that chills as a deafening silence claims it. Both tracks take on an even more sombre meaning once you realize that Reactor 4 was the origin of the Chernobyl disaster.
‘C14H9C15’ lurches to life with grainy crackles and synth beats laying the groundwork for a bombastic drum kit and harmonic melody to sweep overhead. The fanfare shifts, and the enthusiastic sway allows for the ever-present bassline to return; as if a constant warning was being actively overshadowed by carefree declarations of safety. Such was the case of the carcinogenic chemical DDT, the more common name for ‘C14H9C15’.
‘Agent Orange’ begins with a curious superspy-style array of trembling strings and deep bass tones before erupting into a threatening cascade of haunting chirps competing for a place in the main melody while a familiar drum kit attacks the snare with reliable fervour. If agent orange sounds familiar to you, it’s because the chemical was employed by the US government to devastate crops, civilians and soldiers during the Vietnam war.
‘Bhopal’ ignites early on with warbles and a manic melody that conveys imminent danger. The tempo inspires urgency, and abrupt moments of chilling vocal clips unnerve as ‘Bhopal’ careens toward an abrupt end. Bhopal was the location of a tragic gas leak in December of 1984, during which an estimated half-million people were exposed to toxic chemicals that caused nerve damage, birth defects, memory issues, respiratory issues, increased rates of cancer, and death.
An unexpected shot of morality from ‘2182kHz’ comes at a time when reminders that there are consequences to our actions are sorely needed. With power, reverence, and ingenuity, Hello World delivers a deeply moving experience that should not be missed.
‘2182kHz’ by Hello World is available now on Bandcamp for the very generous price of $1 USD (or more) and comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Grab a copy for whatever you can afford and support Hello World’s future artistic endeavours.