As an experimental artist, Mick Harris' industrial music
has certainly evolved over the years. Having spent time with
the death metal band, Napalm Death, he left the act
to start Scorn, a more industrial/electronic act that
evolved as the years moved on, featuring far less organic
elements and stripping down many elements that might have
been extraneous to the musician. Mick also produced work under
different names, focusing on varying aspects of the genre
(like Lull's rolling soundscapes and Quoit's
heavy drum and bass stylings).
In 1999, Mick recorded four vinyl singles known as the Hednod
Sessions (and later released a special CD of bonus tracks
called Having It). Fortunately for fans of the artist,
all of the sessions were compiled together on this two CD
set. Each disc features two of the sessions and a handful
of the bonus tracks. The music is completely electronic -
featuring a large focus on beats and underlying tone. There
are no catchy riffs or grooves here.
In terms of Mick Harris' musical catalog, the Hednod Sessions
fit in a location somewhere between Logghi Barogghi
and Zander - largely barren musical landscapes that
feature low tone soundscapes to give depth to the looped beats.
As you listen to the thirty tracks in order, there is certainly
an evolution as the music feels as though it grows less sparse
and more layered as the album progresses. Early on, though,
there is certainly a sparse, almost lonely feel to the beats,
as if the listener is left to toil alone.
It's rather hard to go track by track, pointing out certain
aspects for each as many of the tracks just flow into one
another, shifting tones, or altering the beat's pace. For
those who aren't deep into the genre, a first pass on this
album may leave them feeling as though it's a bit repetitive
as most of the time, the beats make little variance within
the body of the track. But if one pays attention, the underlying
notes certainly waver in more unique efforts. This is never
more evident than in Astray, which keeps a solid beat,
accented by a rolling low tone that keeps the effort interesting.
Audio signatures familiar to Mick Harris show up all over
the place, like the higher pitched tone that flows in and
out of Dropped. Screener and Red Triangle
feel as though they're lost tracks from Zander. While the
argument could be made that a lot of this album feels pulled
from other efforts, it's uniquely created to feel complete
in and of itself. Most albums that featured loops tend to
fall into a repetitive nature, but with a lot of the underlying
sound work, Mick has done a nice job making the tracks unique
while fitting into the overall theme well.
And, of course, there are times where Mick just wants to
mix things up, as in Bale, which has a great beat balanced
by some deep rolling tones. Backroom comes out with
a We Will Rock You beat that actually brings a smile
to your face when you hear in what direction he takes it.
Sweet As has a crazy deep electronic tone that stands
up in front of the timid looped beat.
If you are a Mick Harris fan or just enjoy the genre, this
is a must buy. If you're new to the genre, this album is more
approachable than most, but the sparseness of tone that it
provides may be a bit offsetting until you start to pay attention
to the underlying audio. In all, I would say that it's worth
the time to hunt down.