I’ve been meaning to write about High Pass Filter’s Soft Adventure for quite a while. However, I lack the articulation required to write effectively about that album. As such, covering High Pass Filter has been on the back-burner. With the release of Nice Coordinated Outfit I’m a bit miffed as I now feel compelled to write about High Pass Filter. Clearly that is unfair.
To briefly cover their history, High Pass Filter existed for a short and long period of time. They supported a bunch of groups, headlined a bunch of own shows and attracted a small, yet strong fanbase. It’s arguable that their sound had a root in dub (because it did) and they were quite capable of twisting it whilst sounding like themselves. Due to their relative obscurity, a new High Pass Filter release is a bit of a surprise.
Nice Coordinated Outfit is a compilation of High Pass Filter’s material, both released and unreleased. It runs through live recordings, remixes and studio stuff. Two of the live recordings bookend the album; The first one feels introductory and sort of allows room for what follows, whereas the second one feels conclusive to what came before. Between them the flow is sort of a movement through moments rather than eras, looking more at High Pass Filter’s ability to work with sound and space than their growth and development.
The release leaning toward the group’s more dub-centric stuff also helps to highlight how they worked with sound. There’s an anchoring of sorts but enough variability to keep the songs congruent with each other. On one hand it would’ve been great to see more of the variable stuff. At the same time doing so would risk throwing the release off balance. Tracks like “Meep” and “Skint” make sense as they straddle the line, so to speak. Something like “Chicken” or “Eat System” doesn’t quite.
In terms of the sound the compilation sounds good. There’s a crispness to how everything sounds and it’s difficult to tell if anything is too loud or quiet. The remixes have punch where necessary, the live recordings have a great deal of clarity and the studio stuff has an appropriate balance between sounds. The tracks from Soft Adventure feel like they’re slightly flatter, but admittedly that likely has more to do with my strong familiarity with that album than anything else.
Nice Coordinated Outfit functions best as an introduction to High Pass Filter, but it’s also nice for fans due to the inclusion of material both from their output and outputn’t. It highlights their consistency in variability and gives an overall satisfying listening experience. Perhaps the inclusion of some other tracks would’ve been nice, but what we get here is appreciable.
As a side note, I realised that this may be titled after “N.C.O”. If so, where is it?
WHERE IS IT?!
Nice Coordinated Outfit is available here.