Hymns57 
Fuzei / Freiluft

Elm Records • 2022

Guelph-based electronic musician Hymns57’s ambitious double album combines fragments of disparate sounds that fit harmoniously with one another.

Guelph, Ontario’s Steven de Taeye, who makes music as Hymns57, really knows how to take control of the sounds he makes. On his newest release, an ambitious double album called Fuzei / Freiluft, he manages to concoct sparse yet symphonic soundscapes out of samples, synths, field recordings, and whatever else he can find. At times blending combinations of disparate elements, he has created a collection that flows both in and out of order.

The album is split into two parts: Fuzei the more experimental and synth-based, while Freiluft has the feel of a late 90s downtempo album chopped into tiny pieces before being reconstructed. Hymns57 calls the collections sister albums, and their relationship with one another is evident in the way both albums have layers that weave together and interact.  Both parts have distinct relationships yet feel connected as a whole. Across all songs, Hymns57 demonstrates his skills as a sonic architect, using the entire album to explore themes of companionship, isolation, and displacement.

The liner notes suggest that the listener can choose their own listening order, something made even easier in the digital age. Fuzei / Freiluft lends itself nicely to the shuffle option, with each permutation offering the listener a new experience. I played through the album in order as well as randomized and was surprised to find that sequentially blending of tracks from each half created a mixtape-like quality to the collection, melding Freiluft’s flowing tracks with Fuzei’s more cerebral compositions.

Listening to any single track on Fuzei / Freiluft isn’t enough to give listeners the full perspective of the range of sounds in Hymns57’s music. For that, it’s best to consume it as a whole work, one that strikes the perfect balance between its many elements. At twenty-two tracks across two albums, Fuzei / Freiluft never feels overlong or repetitive. Instead, it’s a testament to his careful ear for what works.


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Basia Bulat 
The Garden