Brannon Hungness is a musician, composer, filmmaker, author and artist currently residing in Western New York. He started his experimental rock project, Eavesdrop Cosmic, in 2016 but has a very rich history with notable legends.
He grew up in North Dakota where he first got interested in music and recording but it wasn’t till he moved to New York in 1994 where he got involved with a number of exceptional musicians. Glenn Branca, Elliott Sharp, Virgil Moorefield and many others were his musical peers. His most recent project is called Eavesdrop Cosmic and he released three albums which are accompanied by books and even a feature film. The trilogy consists of The Ecstasy of Agony/Hit/Closed Eyes Open.
There is simply too much music to cover in this critique but I can say all of it exists on the fringe. It’s what most people would call experimental whether it’s the soundscapes which have some resemblance to artists like Brian Eno and Stars of the Lid, etc. or the more abrasive rock that does have resemblance to a band like Swans. That's really just the beginning. There is so much territory that is covered. On that note I loved these albums and Hungness takes on a number of what you could consider disparate genres and does them justice.
I started with the album Hit which you could say is a little more experimental rock based and avant garde. “Zip Out of Your Skin and Feed Me” is the opener that is heavy, intense and epic. The almost ten-minute song starts off intriguing with distorted guitar and drums and just gets more interesting as it progresses. Hungness plays with dissonance before landing on a verse and then finding an ascending riff that plows through the rock of earth before finding a post-rock-esque outro.
The lounge-y and possibly free jazz inspired song “Because It Rhymes” contains alien-like synths before rocking out and then petering out in an exceptional way. As the album continues the songs are all epic in length and content.
The album Closed Eyes Open starts off in a very different way. “Closed Eyes” is an immersive ambient soundscape and a highlight. It does what I enjoy most about soundscapes and hits upon ambiguous emotions. Nothing feels clear and you can simultaneously feel emotions like fear, apprehension and even joy. There is a cosmic, alien like quality to the song that felt undeniable.
The album however does not stay in the ambient domain. Instruments like guitar, bass and percussion are introduced on songs like “Focus on the Focus,” “Save Them” and “Vibratory Angel.” “Enter Centered” is an eerie, dissonant piece that is haunting and would work well in a horror movie.
The Ecstasy of Agony is the other album and perhaps the most experimental in terms of rock. You can definitely hear why he chose to play with Glenn Branca on a track like “Bark Amused” which sounds like myriad guitars. I’d also say this album in particular had moments that reminded of Swans.
These trilogy of albums is huge in scope and just as impressive in execution. Don't pass this up. Highly recommended.
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