The Dunedin-based trio of Tristan Dingemans (guitar/vocals), Neil Phillips (bass) and Dino Karlis (drums) join forces with long-standing sound recorder Dale Cotton and pick up the thread of their muse in five extended songs, drawing each into a taut epic of alternating light and dark.
Invoking all the sound and the fury imaginable in the post-rock idiom, high dependency unit offer up another slab of sonic splendour to rival their two previous epics, Abstinence: Acrimony (1995) and The Sum Of The Few (1996).
From the opening strains of the first track "Babaya" the adrenaline is rising until it's like drowning in an ocean of pure sound. Musical tension is coupled with a compelling sense of calm that allows you to just drift in the beauty of noise. The following track "Fauxtekra" unleashes the power of hdu live, drum and bass attempting to hold down a guitar hellbent on the deconstruction of all rock axioms.
The slabs of noise subside briefly with the third track, appropriately entitled "Lull". The drums relax into a shuffle beat alongside a more introspective guitar line before hdu return to their heavy duty as the apocalyptic journey of "Dune" unfolds. Dense and foreboding, the track just relentlessly drives on before its oppressive grind breaks like a wave.
And so to the close where "Space Is The Place" winds out to uncover a reverbed soundscape of chilling beauty. In space, it may be that no-one can hear you scream, but with higher hdu make another passionate case for the quality of the dark emotions they express in music and sound. In ten years time, high dependency unit will be a name that resonates with the 'underground' prestige that groups such as the Gordons and Skeptics command today. Live, there's not a band around today that can touch them. This is the sound of the 'dark side' of Flying Nun in full sonic severity.
"high dependency unit maakt namelijk psychedelica ten voeten uit." Rif Raf Musiczine.
"Distorted, dangerous and often devastating, New Zealand band hdu journey headlong into free-form noise and sonic terror." Rolling Stone (04/97)
"hdu's mix of disciplined musical muscle and compelling sense of tension make them simply breathtaking." Russell Baillie, NZ Herald