Hamerkop is a pair of Baltimore-based sound nerds: Annabel Alpers, the composer, singer and instrumentalist formerly of New Zealand’s Bachelorette, and Adam Cooke, a Baltimorean drummer/ audio engineer with credits that include Beach House, Wye Oak and Future Islands. Together, they have created a song-cycle that contrasts the often-mundane (yet often satisfying) everyday world with that of the idealised, longed-for fantasy, to find the spaces in between these things, the place where we all feel good about our existence.
Hamerkop’s forthcoming debut, Remote, started as an exploration of the sonic beauty in Alpers’ collection of field recordings from her homeland and travels around the world. Looped and sampled, they became a set of instrumental sounds of their own, and when played live in a multiple-speaker, surround-sound experience, their effect was transporting! The finished album blends these expansive sounds in choral layers of synths and vocals, with a kaleidoscopic, almost psychedelic quality, all of it anchored by Cooke’s Kraut-minimal drumming.
The songs of Remote find depth and dimension via a rich tapestry of voices, found sounds and classic pop melodies, as constant synapse triggering from unexpected angles and algorithms reveals, by chance and design, a magical inner life scored by birds and babies, church bells and bonfires. Genre-defining but familiar, Hamerkop translates the topography we share into a musical language that celebrates our shared places.
The first single “We Can Wing” features delirious washes of synth over a driving motorik beat, as Annabel Alpers’ yearning vocals wash over everything with widescreen flair and a hooky resolve. Sounds like a summer single! Winter may be coming on here, but Annabel hails from down under, where the seasons are in reverse; thus also the song’s theme of migratory birds, as homesick, she measures the distance from the US to New Zealand by wingspan.