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Hox is a Graham Lewis collaboration with Andreas Karperyd of Omala. Like with their previous collaborative work on He Said Omala, the tracks are built up from dirty loops of a subdued industrial variety. Lewis provides growling, menacing vocals, reciting harrowing stories such as Knot, which speaks of deluded minds and figures in the shadows: 'I guess when I started looking I knew what I would find/Don't you think that I was stupid, do you think that I was blind?/I've been watching very closely, I've been watching for some time/I said I'd lead you to the shadows so I can take you from behind' . Some of the rhythms are quite bizarre, adding to the dark mood, such as the 'drum machine gone mad' of Taklamakan and the busy, overlaid elements of 7f's.

One thing that is apparent on this release is that Lewis' pop styling is also allowed to shine through, far more so than on Catch Supposes. Although He Said and H.A.L.O. were rarely thoroughly engaging, when combined with the atmospherics of Karperyd's ambient leanings, the results are fantastic. The exquisite Spring seems rather similar to Eclipsed from H.A.L.O., due to the way the vocals and much of the instrumentation are presented, although the rhythm is pure He Said Omala.

Brno Born Czech Check and Reklam Reclaim provide some Dome-oriented noise loops, recalling the other recent Origin release, Ocsid's In Between. However, due to the diversity of sounds on this release, these pieces don't become tedious and act as a worthwhile counterpoint to the more pop-oriented tracks. This variety of sound continues with the slight ethnic bias of Extra Zero and N.E.W.S., and the odd whirling instrumentation of Icon of I Can.

If you thought He Said Omala was good, then this will blow you away. The sheer variety of sounds puts it above any of Graham's recent collaborations, and yet it all holds together remarkably well. The various arrangements may entice fans of Graham's more pop tinged work, and the ambient nature of many of the pieces will also be of great interest to Karperyd fans.

Craig Grannell (September, 1999)

Cover artwork