Hydroplane Hydroplane

Efficient Space
6th May 2022

Format Info

LP - black vinyl
Please note: no Risograph
LP with Riso print
LP with Risograph Print (Hand numbered, Limited to 50)

Sometimes the real treasure is under your nose the whole time. Hydroplane beam out from 1997 with a warbling, fuzzy light that makes more sense now.

Hydroplane’s 1997 debut of sublime guitar atmospherics, fragile lyricism and droning incidentals now has an overdue vinyl and digital reissue courtesy of the intrepid Efficient Space. We’re delighted to partner with Efficient Space to offer a hand-numbered, official Risograph, limited to 50, with each copy of the album.

An offshoot of the now-féted The Cat’s Miaow, the trio formed after their drummer decamped to London, charting new territory with tape loops, manipulated samples and a borrowed Jupiter 4 in the wake of Endtroducing. Adopting a handle that Dean Wareham once considered calling Luna, Hydroplane intended to only ever release Excerpts From Forthcoming LP, a single-sided 7” sonic collage, before imploding in mystery. Their label however insisted they deliver their taunted album. From the comfort of a Brunswick flat, they continued to record soaring melodies and restrained song structures to 4-track, sculpting dramatic Radiophonic Workshop cues weighted in reverb and near-perfect dream pop lead by Kerrie Bolton’s empyrean vocals.

Bored of industry expectation and largely ignored by local audiences, the reluctant performers followed the way of The Cannanes and formed meaningful overseas alliances by mail and phone, securing releases on Michigan outpost Drive-In and Broadcast launching pad Wurlitzer Jukebox. Championed by John Peel with twenty spins on his converted Radio One slot and even polling in the Festive Fifty of 1997, the humble three-piece still walked to their neighbourhood shops undetected.

Previously only available as a US-issued CD, listening now to this music it reveals so many strains that make more sense in the 21st Century’s lo fi underground. Shades of store favourites Broadcast and Ela Orleans abound, particularly the latter’s Movies For Ears period of fuzzed balladeering over tape loops and plaintive vocal. Hydroplane’s techniques are a melange of Galaxie 500 guitar playing, luminescent, nocturnally glowing atmospherics and a wilful experimentation with form: cut up techniques, sampling, instrumental passages and a playfulness doused with obfuscating mystique.

Hydroplane were always one of those mystical groups who became a whisper in knowledgeable circles, but listening to some of this music now it feels like it’s always been in your bones.

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