He Was Eaten By Owls have been spreading their politically motivated blend of post-punk, chamber music and jazz to startled audiences for the last 3+ years, all the while alluding to a 'chamber-math opus of epic proportions' in the works.
That masterpiece has finally arrived, in the form of 'Chorus 30 From Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead', a non-stop onslaught of dextrous acoustic guitar, dancing string/wind arrangements and sudden dynamic & rhythmic changes over pulsing, groove laden drums.
Part funded by the Arts Council UK - who waived their usual suspicion of recording projects to support this game-changing piece of work - we here at Fu Inle Records can honestly say we have never had anything with the sheer scope and vision of this project on our hands before.
Recorded over the course of a year at House of Strange Studios, Fu Inle Studios and Unit 8c with some of the UK underground scene's top engineers - and featuring members of the London Symphony Orchestra, The Ginsberg Jukebox, Patchwork Natives, Colin Samurai, Exploder Than You and Sol Flare, as well as an awe inspiring collaboration with Komorebi Komorebi - the album dances nimbly and thoughtfully around subjects such as intersectional feminism, queer theory, class issues and other radical praxis.
Featuring artwork overseen by Swedish installation artist Henrik Potter and a small essay by feminist scholar Georgia Lassoff there's not a single part of this record that isn't a true offering - a true labour of love - and a particularly unique one in this modern time of quick fix, download-and-go consumerism.
With their roots in the anarchist UK squat scene, HWEBO defy genre specification almost completely as they stretch their angular, off-kilter noise into new, totally untouched territories; a new line of instrumental post-whatever music firmly footed in polyrhythmic counterpoint chamber composition, newly updated for the modern era with the addition of drums and amplified guitar.
No stone is left unturned - be it rich, heavy noise and glitchy electronica exploring queer issues and gender politics; a heartbreakingly emotive soundtrack-style tone-poem in solidarity with refugees; a choral filled ballad for murdered Brazilians; loose experimental jazz to depict the civil rights movement and artists of colour; poly-temporal ambient aleatoric music illustrating issues of class and social inequality; an expansive string drone relating to the mistreatment of the unwell or fast, technical acoustic mathematics representing the web-like reaches of intersectional feminist theory in modern society.
Limited to 500 cds, 250 vinyl, forever. Get them while you can, and enjoy the downloads free of charge always.
"The composition’s blend of complex syncopation, jazz flourishes and revolutionary-punk orchestration turns what could have easily been an album with too many fingers in too many social-justice pies into a seamless and emotionally cohesive whole.
As a political statement, Chorus 30 From Blues For The Hitchiking Dead delivers its message clearly without ever feeling blunt, tortured or trivially obvious. As a rock album, it’s a brilliantly assembled blend of math-rock, jazz and chamber orchestration that sounds utterly unlike anything I’ve heard before."
"He Was Eaten By Owls was born out of London’s anarchist squat scene, and over the years honed a sound loosely described today as “chamber punk”. While this conjures up wonderful imagery of ruffs and mohawks, it does serve to encapsulate an anti-establishment cynicism, an inquisition of the status quo. While dormant in most, as e-petitions act the substitute for direct action, perhaps then this album should incite a call to arms.
Chorus 30 From Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead is a paragon of DIY culture, something to celebrate and aspire to. A retort to inequality, a guidebook for humanity."
"He Was Eaten By Owls, of which I will from now on just refer to as Owls, are a self styled “Queer-Math/Chamber-Punk” band from London, who’s album Chorus 30 From Blues For The Hitchhiking Dead, of which I’ll refer to from here on out as Chorus, is an engaging plate of alphabetti spaghetti that uses the Post-Punk/Math-Rock playbook as a boomerang to unfortunately, whilst said boomerang is in the air, attempt to talk politics and Anarchist social movements touching on Race and Gender movements.
And if you are sighing at the name of both title and band because you’re scared of the whole thing being super-pretentious, then you’re actually wrong, semi-wrong, there are no flugelhorns after all."
(Disclaimer - there are flugelhorns)