12 Albums for 2011 – Hype Williams’ ‘One Nation’

In March, Hype Williams' dropped the jokes and released our favourite album of the year, the otherworldly romance of 'One Nation'.


Words by: Charlie Jones

‘One Nation’ a courageous album, one that reflects the ebb and flow of light and life, like Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, or like the simple album sleeve these songs are incased in. It’s a collection of tracks that don’t float over, but seep right through you. ‘One Nation’ is undoubtedly a strange record, but in 2011, it’s made us feel more than any other released.

One of the intriguing things about Hype Williams was that you were never sure if you were being tricked. As everyone rushed to heap elaborate words on their every ridiculously limited release, their grainy Youtube videos, their evasive answers to journalist questions, every smoky tongue-in-cheek sample, it was sometimes hard to remember that the music Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland are capable of goes far deeper than a simple trick of the light.

Hype Williams – One Nation by Hippos In Tanks

‘One Nation’ was recorded over a weekend at a friends flat in Tottenham while taking Mitsubishis and playing the instruments that were there, and what they made is simply beautiful. It’s an album wrought on instinct, songs scarcely mixed, morphine-shot sounds crackling and bristling up against each other. As soon as those rough yet grand synths on opener Ital wash in, something slowly becomes apparent – the Hype Williams fog has cleared. They’re not joking any more, and in doing so have revealed something very, very special.

‘One Nation’ is a strange record. There’s the slowness, its lethargic beats, more stream of consciousness than anything with the usual beginning-middle-end album structure. It sparkles with an almost childlike brightness, the playful Unfaithful, the tender swoon of Businessline. But it’s also worldly and bruised. What song of this year is more damaged, more heart-swellingly torn than Break4Love? Listening to something like this is like holding cracked glass, the hurt and danger is clear, and you feel like the whole thing could fall to pieces at any moment. Their glazed noise and dreamy beats swirl, and it’s like the sound of our entire fragile world turning. Hype Williams have painted the most pure portrait of being alive today in all it’s highs and lows. They’re sensitive, and it’s this sensitivity that has held our attention like nothing else this year.

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