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Excitement alert. Brand new album from Chris Adams (Hood/Downpour/On Fell etc) under his Bracken moniker. Now you will all remember that his previous album 'Exist/Resist' won our coveted Album of the Year award in 2014, previous to that he released his debut 'We Know About the Need' on Anticon and go even further back in time you'll remember his group Hood with albums such as 'Cold House' (2001). This new opus is an incredibly diverse and ambitious work spread over 2LPs showcasing his distinctive brand of hip-hop influenced electronic production skills and heartfelt song craft. 

Double LP £18.49 HAM014LP

Limited 2LP on Home Assembly Music in deluxe spot varnished sleeve. aka Chris Adams (Hood).

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CD £6.99 HAM014CD

CD on Home Assembly Music aka Chris Adams (Hood).

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Tape £6.49 BARO52

Limited tape on BARO. Edition of 100 copies.

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High Passes by Bracken
7 reviews. Write a review for us »
9/10 Ant Staff review, 09 June 2016
‘High Passes’ is the fourth long player (not counting ‘Remixes’) from Yorkshire artist Chris Adams. For many of our readers an artist who requires no introduction as his work has appeared numerous times on these pages over the years - as founding/ core member of the highly influential/ revered experimental post-rock band Hood, splicing up jungle/ amen breaks as Downpour, as half of On Fell with Andrew Johnson etc. Most of you will know the score and yet, still many won’t. What I’m getting at here is that this record deserves an audience way beyond the legions of devoted and loyal Hood fans that have followed his work for the past twenty four years.   There’s few artists that have been in the game since 1992 and are still relevant - making great records this far down the line, but Adams has never remained stagnant in his approach to creating sound, a sound that has evolved with, and embraced technology but always retains the essence of what makes his music a unique voice -- a direct reflection of the man. A man still with plenty to give...   On first listen I found things almost overwhelming. There’s more ideas and creativity present than many artists will have in a lifetime. These productions are maximal but never cluttered, each component’s function deployed with extreme precision and attention to detail. Repeated listens reveal more details lurking deep within this album's many, many layers and the use of effects, particularly the dub influence make for a big sound.   Across the thirteen tracks that comprise the album it’s like a sort of distillation of influences from the past twenty or so years of electronic music, boundaries between genres are smudged so they bleed into one another - you can hear fragments of Boards of Canada (as heard on 'Branch Hid Sky'), Flying Lotus (check 'Ghostly'), Burial (as on 'Masked Headlands'), bits of hip-hop, techno (opening track 'Slow Release'), digital dub (check the bassline on 'Ten Years'), ambient and so on - styles which are generally instrumental are remoulded, often into more song based formats to accommodate some gorgeous vocals, deployed either in occasional fragments or loops or into what are essentially beautifully written pop songs.   ‘High Passes’ is testament to Chris’s artistic growth and development, utilizing whatever tools necessary to express whatever it is inside him he’s willing to share. If a track requires a guitar he’ll reach for it, a synth, a drum machine, laptop -- but things never become over techy or machine like. His sound remains intensely personal, introspective, breathtakingly intimate, and deeply emotionally resonant - the full spectrum of the human condition and yet at times it still feels like just a peek behind a closed door - a partially obscured window into the soul/ heart/ mind of this unique, superhumanly talented artist.  

8/10 steve Customer review, 26th July 2016

Hard to see what the negative review is getting at. In no way shape or form is this a 2/10 record so presumably someone has an axe to grind. I'm a fan of the latter day Hood material and I enjoyed this record. It's certainly very electronic with lots of modern day production touches but the vocals add an emotional touch (even if I admit you can't always make out what is being said). It all adds to the swirling mystery of an ambitious record that deserves praise rather than being shot down. There's certainly a lot of other records out this year that are more deserving of a kicking!

8/10 Down Stream Customer review, 25th July 2016

Chris Adams has been one of the most under sung producers in the last twenty years not only with his stellar work as frontman of Hood but his drum and bass project Downpour (check it out on Bandcamp), On Fell and others.

'High Passes' is a sprawling double album which is probably less immediate that it's excellent predecessor 'Exist/Resist' but immediacy isn't the name of the game here. I've spent a long time with this album and I never fail to find something new in it every time I play it. It's in the classic tradition of throw everything onto vinyl and let listeners deal with it. Like a rainy northern English answer to the Brainfeeder stable of artists, Adams plays around with myriad electronic sounds adding sometimes vocals (sometimes pitch shifted) and basically bringing new and fresh takes on electronic music history.

It's not always an easy digest - some of the most catchy tracks come right at the end but this will reward the long term listener.

2/10 Frank Daniels Customer review, 25th July 2016

I have many Hood albums, Declining Winter albums etc. and the Bracken album "We know about the need"; all of these magnificent musical productions in their own ways, but here with this "High passes" comes a parting of the ways. I find no inspiration in this album; just a muddy mix of unmemorable tracks (no melody of any note to latch onto here) with vocals too indistinct to fully understand. I think you can overproduce without realising what you are doing if you have been in recording studios for this many years. I hate saying this; I hate feeling that I have to say this. It may seem unfair to compare this album with "We know about the need" from 2006, but I have no other direct comparison. To me this is the sound of someone just treading water.

8/10 Manuel Customer review, 4th July 2016

Bracken is good, is really good. He is able to go through paths that at first seem obsolete and twist them to meet his needs. The use of electronics is heavier here than in the previous "Exist/Resist", with some sound that might appear as "cliché" or even cheesy (that vocoder and pitch shifter). But when you let yourself go, you can see the logic behind. If the record is only 8/10 is only because (today) I find it excessively long, but I don't rule out that tomorrow I can change my mind and set it to 9/10. I don't know.

8/10 Tim Customer rating (no review), 12th July 2016
8/10 Wojciechowski Customer rating (no review), 21st June 2016


Bracken 'Ghostly' (Excerpt) - YouTube



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