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49. Asa-Chang & Junray – Hana

05/11/2009

49

Hana really sounds like nothing else on earth. But despite its alien form, the emotions it provokes are surprisingly familiar. The ever-descending string part – mournful and elegant like the soundtrack to a James Ivory period drama – carries a melancholy romance throughout, and the clipped vocals, with their electronic treatment, feel increasingly desperate as the piece progresses. Indeed, while the strings feel slightly more of this world, it’s the strange dissected voices that make the song so arresting. With each syllable mirrored by a drum beat, the incomprehensible message feels panicked and passionate, and as the pace rises to a gabble towards the end, there’s a sudden unexpected fervency to the track. But bizarrely, for a piece of music so un-human, Hana has an innate sense of heartbreak to it: were David Lean’s tragic movie Brief Encounter remade in a futuristic city on a foreign planet, maybe Hana would replace Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto on the soundtrack, such is its haunting, wordless emotion. Like some intergalactic telegram to a doomed loved one, Hana is an utterly unique piece of music – electronic but visceral, cold and steely but very, very warm.

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