Although few Russian bands seem to have broken out onto the global stage, my experiences with the Moscow scene give me the impression that it’s a city with a strong music underground. Human Factor are a fairly recent name to the Moscow roster; a spacey instrumental band recently featured on ProgStreaming.com. A supergroup of sorts, Human Factor draw in a number of musicians from established acts together, most notably from the instrumental rock quartet Infront. If this debut is any indicator, Human Factor have a promising future ahead of them. Bringing forth a raw, yet undeniably atmospheric approach in their sound, Human Factor have started things off on a good foot.
Human Factor are rightly labelled under the ‘space rock’ umbrella, but there is just as much of a post-rock style at play here. “4.Hm.f” may be brooding and patient with their sound, but the soaring leads and keyboard ambiance are always backed up by a strictly composed rhythm section. Considering the amount of otherworldly atmosphere in their sound, it’s of special note that the guitar tones Human Factor use are kept remarkably raw. Although reverb is a rule on the guitar performances, there’s none of the flashy effects alot of spacey bands tend to use. Instead, ’4.Hm.f’s vast atmosphere is conveyed through the moderate use of synth soundscapes and a compositional style that favours drawn out chord progressions. Human Factor’s existing experience as musicians pays off well in regards to their songwriting. Although there are few surprises along the way, “4.Hm.f” lays down a solid foundation for the musicianship to flourish.
When it comes to the more post-rockish elements of Human Factor, I may be inclined to call them Russia’s response to the Irish post-rock band God is an Astronaut. They have many of the same bold features, including (relatively) concise songwriting, and an atmosphere that manages to flourish in spite of the composition structure. It’s no surprise when one looks at the resume for some of these musicians, but Human Factor’s greatest strength is the sheer musicianship of the band. Although they rarely dredge into technical territory, there is feeling in each instrument, a quality made greater with the album’s raw production and organic approach. “4.Hm.f” is nothing new, in spite of its unconventional take on space rock. There’s a strong fusion of psychedelia, alternative rock and even metal here to boot. The laid-back atmosphere doesn’t suit every mood and situation, but for long Winter nights- the likes of which I am sure these Russians are accustomed to- Human Factor make for a great listen.
<a href=”http://humanfactor.bandcamp.com/album/4-hm-f” mce_href=”http://humanfactor.bandcamp.com/album/4-hm-f”>4.Hm.f by Human Factor</a>
1. Revealing Secrets (7:14)
2. The Mist (6:13)
3. Polaris (5:09)
4. Yellowstone (8:02)
5. Stargazer (6:16)
6. Tika (6:44)
7. Objects In The Mirror (5:32)
8. Equilibrium (6:40)
* Alexander Meshcheryakov – bass
* Ivan Ivanov – guitar
* Sergey Volkov – guitar, keyboards
* Konstantin Shtirlitz – drums