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Hyperpotamus - Delta

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 17 / 3 / 2012

Hyperpotamus - Delta
Label: Play It Again Sam
Format: CD


Distinctive and unique vocal-only second album from Hyperpotamus, the project of Spanish-born but now London-based musician Jorge Ramirez-Escudero

It’s no so often than albums like ‘Delta’ come along. To quote from the CD sleeve, “ vocals: Jorge Ramirez-Escudero, all tracks on this album are vocal tracks. No instruments were used for the recording”. Hailing from Spain but currently based in London Jorge made this album using his voice, a few microphones and a loop pedal. Given those facts ‘Delta’ is a remarkable album. Understandably tired of lugging drums about after playing in bands as drummer/pianist for a decade Jorge decided to go solo and ditch, well, everything really, when he released his debut solo album, ‘Largo Bailon’ in 2009. As original albums, go it’s unlikely you’ll hear anything else like this all year or have done for a very long time. While Jorgen isn’t the only artist to release an album of songs where the only instrument is the human voice, the few albums that have been popular in this field usually have had a large novelty factor attached to them. While Jorge probably wouldn’t welcome the association, the only albums of this type that have ever made any impression on the record buying public are those by the likes of the Flying Pickets, Big Daddy and so on, and the attraction there was that the songs for the most part were covers of already popular tunes. The Swingle Singers and Sweet Honey in the Rock are taken more seriously, but still there are few artists who are making a name in this genre. What sets Hyperpotamus apart from the, admittedly small, pack is that he not only writes all the songs, but produces and engineers them too which can be no mean feat given the accomplished sound of the finished album. The danger in producing a whole album without any instrumental backing at all is that the songs could all merge into one; that there won’t be sufficient variety between each song to distinguish one track from another. Despite the lack of instruments ‘Delta’ never once suffers from this. In fact after a few songs you tend to forget that all these sounds are coming from one vocalist, Jorge has built up a wall of sound with his vocals that makes each song unique and different. Rather than take a stripped down approach to the songs, Jorge not only builds layer upon layer of vocals but produces sounds with his voice to such a great effect that they do, at times, sound like instruments. Jorge is a songwriter of some class, a whole album of songs without instruments could well be challenging for the listener if the songs weren’t up to this standard, but Jorge never repeats himself. There is always something new to discover with each play, even more so than if the songs were accompanied by instruments, and it’s refreshing to listen to. ‘Delta’ is a classy album, the songwriting is of a high standard and it’s still something of a shock to think of one man making all the sounds on the album without the aid of any instrument. While it won’t appeal to everyone it’s a sign that there are still some artists around willing to take chances. Hyperpotamus has already completed a number of gigs. It must be an experience to hear these songs performed live.

Track Listing:-
1 Seahorse For Dragon
2 Sailboat
3 De Camino
4 Such A Surprise
5 In The Time
6 Electroclash
7 Monthly Airborne
8 Commuter
9 Tetris In Zurich
10 Una Grande Y Libre
11 Diorama

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