Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Artist Review: Hakanstone

What I wouldn't give for a day in the past, when I was a kid and gamboled in the neighborhood for five hours every day. The days when making forts was fun, but defending them was even more so. We would gang up and play pranks on the "grown-ups", trade trinkets and gum for a chance to play on that one kid's Gameboy and plan "expeditions" to the "far corners of the town" (which was usually within a one kilometer radius) on our bicycles. But not one of those smart-arse physicists have invented a time machine (yet). So I'll settle for the next best thing - Indie Ambient Sci-Fi Pop.

HakanStone is an indie pop project by Jens Hills with vocal contributions from KSharp, VHF, AHF and AJ Stubbs. With a signature Brit eccentricity, this act from East London (UK) personifies all that is "trippy". A quirky mix of pop beats from the flower power era and electro-pop from the wacky '80s makes up for majority of their mojo. I could totally envision this kinda music being played at a fashion event or as the soundtrack for a romantic scene in Gossip Girl.

The consistent feature in all the tracks is the very catchy beat. The style relies heavily on sweet vocals (whether male or female) that give the music an effervescent quality. Dance With Me has the potential to be the next "Young Folks". There is an unmistakable PB&J vibe in there somewhere, but HakanStone still remains original. The lyrics are mostly upbeat and peppy, like the music itself. The overall effect is that of minimal, clean, elegant music that exudes freshness.

Here is a track that is NOT on the album, but is really good nonetheless. That belongs in a freakin' club!!

Now a little about the collaborators, straight from the horse's mouth!


Most of the time Jens works as an intellectual property and commercial business affairs consultant.

When not singing K Sharp mostly works in corporate responsibility - yep, corporate responsibility!

Jens and K were at university together.

Anthony Jackson-Stubbs does his thing with Paleday from his base in Brighton.

VHF is working through college and planning to be an artist, whilst looking to do some sessions and acoustic appearances.
AHF is going to tour South America, maybe with her sax, before studying Spanish and Portuguese at university.
VHF and AHF are Jens' daughters. It's a family affair.
Simon Rogers makes or produces music full time, including for film and tv. 

 The Album Story

Jens trained as a classical guitarist, gave up. Went to university, played in a band (yes K Sharp was the lead singer!), got offered a record deal. Didn't do it, became a lawyer. Simon Rogers went to the Royal College of Music and won the guitar prize. Became a successful artist and producer.

Simon was Jens' client.

Jens did lots of interesting work, including a number of copyright infringement cases, kept a project studio for this work and for fun. Discovered Garageband in 2008, worked up some tracks. Simon liked them and came on board. Daughters did their bits...

So now you know! Most of the guitar work and other instrumentation on the album is Jens with production touches by Simon. The drums are a mixed of samples, loops and fills, mostly sourced from www.drumsondemand.com, some from midi-guitar work. Idea was to create a virtual band...
Jens writes the lyrics himself, except for the lyrics on  Late Call, Impressions, Dance With Me, States of Mind, Chains and Control, which he co-wrote with K Sharp. About the future of HakanStone, Jens says, "I am lucky in that I have been able to do something to a result that reflects what I wanted to achieve creatively because of the friends I made in the music industry. Most importantly I have gained a lot of experience about the realities of trying to exploit music in the current climate. I hope to take this into a model for an Internet music streaming service which is an alternative market to the majors and which actually makes money for the musical contributors as opposed to the owners of the service. On the music side, I have a remix album planned (about 10-12 remixes), about 4 videos and a further album which will go into production later in the year. Big issue is whether we go live. It is essentially a studio project, although people think it is a band and we have received several enquiries from promoters."

My personal favorites from this 19-song double album are Spilt Milk (feat. VHF), Save My Soul (feat. A. J. Stubbs) and States of Mind (feat. KSharp). Another track to take note of is Gaston (feat. VHF).

You can listen to the whole album here or buy it from CDBaby.com. Trust me, it's TOTALLY worth the money spent! Follow HakanStone on Twitter and Facebook.

Verdict: Impeccable production and AWESOME music!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment! I like knowing what you guys think. :)