HQFU provides the buzzing electro soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic future with new album ‘FOR INHUMANITY’.
Soundtracks feel like they are gaining in popularity, particularly those with a retro 80s sound or those huge synthscapes – I’m thinking of Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s staggeringly brilliant work for ‘Stranger Things’, Ben Salisbury & Geoff Barrow’s haunting soundtracks for ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Ex Machina’ and Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer’s score for ‘Blade Runner 2049’. These are records that demand to be listened to, without needing the connection with the project they were made for.
Now HQFU – the electro alias of Glasgow-based musician, artist and producer Sarah J Stanley – has provided a stand-out soundtrack with her instrumental album for the text-based post-apocalyptic adventure game INHUMANITY.
‘FOR INHUMANITY’ (available on all digital platforms from 13th April) begins with a slightly sinister introduction of throbbing synths before shifting into the euphoric electro that has become familiar from HQFU’s previous recordings and live sets. Think of that retro synth sound I mentioned above morphing into crisp, shimmering soundscapes.
There are stripped back moments throughout though – with bouncing synth notes and even a piano-based melody. Of this, Stanley states:
“This album is necessarily more gentle and nuanced than you might be used to hearing at a live HQFU show. It was refreshing to consider music for game play, and reappropriate melodic and harmony structures without using my voice as a tool.
“These tracks take me to a dark and sad place; grief I maybe thought I’d buried. Hopefully, there is an emotional intensity there that comes across without being clouded by lyrics. Occasionally it’s good to be willing to shut the fuck up and let music alone have its place where it’s due. These tracks are a bit of that hush”.
Talking about the creation of lead track ‘INHUMANITY 1’ she explains: “I tried to layer up a frenzy of melodies and harmonies with as much winding and tender elegance as I could, on top of a more propulsive driving bass. Stripping this track back to the humid and bleepy first melody line and working it into some long winding lead synth melodies; hopefully, it reaches its contrapuntal climax with ease and force…It’s the sound I need to hear before ‘THE ABBERATION’ which is next on the track listing; a resolution of some dark meanderings
inherent. This is the most important track to me because the calm before the storm is an inversion of my creative reality. You make in complete submission and broken subservience to your discipline, and it’s then you might get to find how the dust will settle into the shape of something you can understand with some semblance of calm”.
If you’re in Glasgow on Friday 13th, consider yourself lucky and get down to Stereo to catch the live album playthrough with accompanying visuals.
More information about the album and the launch is available on HQFU’s website.