Textile – split 12″ with Sun

Textile / Textile Vynile Serie 06 – TXTVNL 06 (2003)

12″ Vinyl in Textile‘s split series with Oren Ambarchi’s ‘Sun’ project on the flip.
 


“Deft lo-tek studio compositions mixed with samples and electronics. A fine example of peaked bedroom cassette culture, Hassle Hound show a penchant for live guitar/violin interplay with atmospheric samples. ‘Prudent Meteors’ illustrates the meeting point between idle nursery rhymes and Harry Partch, seek out. ” [4/5] Audiosports

Scaring the Grass in the Garden

Pickled Egg / EGG42 10″ mini-album (2002)

Hassle Hound’s debut record released on Pickled Egg Records.
 


Reviews:

“This Scottish band consists of Tony Swain (guitar & samples), Lizzy Swimmers (vocals & violin), David Fulford (electronics & keyboards) and Mark Vernon (electronics & samples). This 10″ mini album is their debut release, though they have several releases coming out almost simultaneously on Twisted Nerve and Textile Records in Europe. Like many of the incredible Pickled Egg roster these folks delight in genre defying. Their extensive use of odd samples recalls People Like Us, musically they resemble a whimsical jazz band playing toy instruments, Young Marble Giants demos, or Cale era Velvets in a mellow mood, and surrealistic electronic loopery flailing it’s tendrils at the moon with a real band bubbling under the surface. Easy listening strings circle and cycle, while antiquated radio voices read fairy tales, or fragments of children’s stories. Bright, colorful, upbeat with stoned candy puzzles, and collaged delights in the corners, and running along the hedges.”
George Parsons, Dream Magazine #4
http://www.dreamgeo.com

“Glasgow’s Hassle Hound have everything going for them. Hassle Hound won my nomination for best band name plus my nomination for best album title. The excellent packaging for ‘Scaring the Grass in the Garden’ from Pickled Egg comes with stunning innovative lo-jazz versus nu-This Heat sound. Performed very affectionally ‘Scaring the Grass In the Garden’ cut a deep impression on the first listen. These precious nine songs build the finest momentum of the year so far. Hassle Hound’s sense of experimentation is combined with genuine talent.”
Maarten Scheithar, Penny Black music

“Sweet little mixture of countryish folky guitar tracks with a smattering of electronics and quite a few sampled vocal quotes popping up throughout the proceedings. Some lovely mouth harp and violin work. Quite melancholic in places, but keeping a sense of humour so as not to get too sugary. Hats off the Pickled Egg!!!”
Small fish

“Spanning Huddersfield, Warsaw and Glasgow, Hassle Hound are the electronic and melodic product of 4 musicians, one of whom makes his living through kites and the flying of said kites. Certainly not four teens in the drummer’s Dad’s garage style ensemble these. However their diverse backgrounds make for one bafflingly good record which intersperses affecting guitar strokes with random non-sequital vocal samples and found-sound beeps and clacks. ‘Rickety Venue’ is like the soundtrack to a Twin Peaks Arabian fantasy, whilst ‘Crickets & Castbirds’ is French Jazz farting from a crackly old wireless. ”
Skif, Vanity Project Issue 6

http://www.pickled-egg.co.uk/hasslehound.htm

Limelight Cordial

Staubgold / Staubgold 65 CD/LP (2005)

Hassle Hound’s first full length album release and their debut on Staubgold.


Reviews:

“There’s a very real skill in making an album sound as eclectically irreverent as ‘Limelight Cordial’ without it descending into a sticky mess of half-baked ideas and breached taste boundaries. Hassle Hound have got the skills to pay the bills… Following a couple of releases through Twisted Nerve, the three-piece Hassle Hound (Ela Orleans, Tony Swain & Mark Vernon) have managed to pin-down their wandering creativity to produce an LP that contains more ideas per minute than most groups manage in the spells between rehab. Seemingly undeterred by usual considerations of what does and doesn’t go together, ‘Limelight Cordial’ opens through the Goons Show-meets-Four Tet of ‘Anvil Stamping Stallion’ – a song that somehow fuses the sound of horses hooves, delicate guitar and telephone chatter into an emotionally rich four minutes. From this, the mood is immediately flipped for the string-lashed ‘The Night Of The Great Season (a song which flirts a bit too heavily in Lemon Jelly territory), before the fabulously odd ‘Farce Of Dusty Knee’ massages Brazilian percussion, mournful swipes, surf guitar and ‘ye-haw’ vocal samples into a gleeful flash of expertly balanced joy. Elsewhere, ‘Star Lantern And Two Mice’ is a brittle coalition of fizzing electronics and mealy instrumentation, ‘White Roads’ points to where Air might be had they discovered Vashti Bunyan, whilst ‘Primrose’ takes The Avalanches only good idea and makes it better. To the power of twenty. Sniff it out!”
Boomkat


“Ramshackle Glaswegian sound collectors Hassle Hound finally bring the post-folktronic, cut’n’paste, strummy-hummy jams on this impossibly blessed full-length. With neighing horses, boinnnng-ing springs, and flamenco and psychedelic guitars, Hassle Hound is the musical equivalent of a Valhalla-esque flea market crossed with a super-group of every charismatic, story-hoarding uncle the world has known. Moreover, the depth and breadth of samples layered in among the exquisitely crafted songs almost makes this a train-hopping, long-haired hippie cousin of The Books.”
Brion Paul, XLR8R


“Accomplishing no small feat, Hassle Hound have taken the milieus and motifs of the Old West (among other nostalgic themes), added modern electronics, and made it work very well indeed. ‘Limelight Cordial’ is a deceptively casual-sounding record which, upon closer listen, must have taken a lot of time – it begins with ‘Anvil Stamping Stallion’, a mix bag of jazz guitars, horse whinnies, and other breezy detritus that could easily be the soundtrack of the most forward-thinking Bosco cartoon never produced. And that appears to the point elsewhere, as mini-epics like ‘Star Lantern and Two Mice’ lose themselves in time, with 1960s style Brazilian percussion behind guitar lines from Fritz Lang’s exotic 1920s visions, all augmented by blips and squirks that subtly invoke their source computers. There truly is a little bit of everything here, which makes ‘Limelight Cordial’ exceedingly difficult to classify, but when a record is this clever and well-executed, that doesn’t really matter. And it’s worth the price for the supreme genius of ‘The Farce of Dusty Knee’ alone.
Tom Meluch, http://www.atmsphr.org


“Let me just first say, anything coming from Staubgold has high expectations from me. Schwabinggrad Ballett blew my mind. If you don’t have that one, get it now. That’s the last time I’m going to say that… well, probably not. But regardless, as high as my expectations are of this cutting edge experimental label from Berlin, they have yet to disappoint. And Hassle Hound is no exception. From beginning to end, this sample-tastic, playfully haunting collection of folktronica-ish collage mastery really doesn’t stop.

From its’ strange phone call sample beginning, “Anvil Stamping Stallion” leads a bizarre dance amidst percussion of horse galloping and neighing samples as an introduction to sonic theatre. Images are painted throughout; hot tropical nights on the exotic sounding “Tahitian Sideshow”, complete with ukulele strings, thick bass line and chirping samples, discos and opium dens on “Poppy Bush” – without saying a word. *At first I took that to mean W’s daddy Poppy Bush, or now I see it as actually a Poppy plant. hmm?* Dreamy visions of the characters from Where The Wild Things Are sneaking about on the densely layered sounds of “Monsters Are Due On Maple Street”. “Hazel” builds garage (or garbage can) percussion, upright bass and other strings with sultry vocals for a loungy groove that should be tagged as psychetronica. And if that sub-genre doesn’t really exist, this record should go into the wikipedia definition as required listening for “psychetronica” even though they could never be pinned down specifically.

Oddly enough, when I wrote about Schwabinggrad Ballett, I described it in visual terms too. Until now, that was the only record that expressed such an incredible amount of imagery through sound design. It was also the only other record that I can think of that had what would normally be an excrutiating number of sounds layered upon each other, but was executed masterfully. Never sounding forced or unintentional, it is engaging and requires multiple listens to notice the intricate details, details that are well worth paying attention to.”
Just Add Noise


“I don’t feel capable of writing about this album…. Way too much going for the mere mortal like me to parse.
Charming samples of horse whinnies go up against spaghetti western bits and what sounds like a wild west wagon ride on the first track, “Anvil Stomping Stallion.”
The second track, “Tahitian Sideshow” features crazy drunken saloon piano with what sounds like Hawaiin guitar – but maybe it’s the musical saw? This underneath a slightly Caribbean sounding vocal?
Like I said, not easy for the mere mortal to parse, but it’s fun to try. And more fun still to sit back and just get lost in the dazzling array of sounds that Hassle Hounds present to listeners.
At points later in the album, use of samples becomes more explicit and more comical, sounding more like Matthew Bourne or People Like Us than The Books.
Highly recommended for fans of sample-heavy experimental pop groups such as The Books. Hassle Hound are a bit more fun and funny and very are some very pretty, truly transcendent moments of pure pleasure on Limelight Cordial.”
Gordon B. Isnor – http://www.lefthip.com/review_detail.php?


“Plenty of smiles on this pleasantly clever humorous cut-up record…it’s a trio of players, Tony Swain and Mark Vernon from Glasgow, and Ela Orleans, a Polish woman living in Brooklyn. Mark Vernon is one half of Vernon & Burns and also Boy Band Tax Returns. Together they use computers, samples, loops, keyboards and some live instruments (including vocals), mostly piecing their music out of old records as they ‘rip and twist through the best and most eclectic of record collections, ripping out and tearing off ideas and samples.’ This approach to pastiche is very much in the mode of People Like Us, and even uses similar source material – recordings of radio announcers, and easy listening records, and many choice moments from same, usually selected on the strength of their utter inanity. The record manages to raise a few chortles with its jolly juxtapositions, most notably on the opening track which reminded me of ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ by The Avalanches (it even includes a neighing horse as lead vocalist)…”
Ed Pinsent, Sound Projector


“Hassle Hound is something I never heard of before, even when Mark Vernon of Vernon & Burns is part of it. He plays computer, sampler, loops and keyboards. The other members are Ela Orleans on vocals, violin, guitar, keyboards and toy instruments and Tony Swain on guitar, bass, samples, loops and keyboards. So far they had a split 12″ on Textile and a 10″ on Pickled Egg, so ‘Limelight Cordial’ is their debut CD. If Staubgold wants popmusic they could call in Hassle Hound, as they play their own weird version of popmusic. Partly based on plunderphonics, with all sorts of weird samples being thrown into the mix, there are also neat lovely tunes, exotica and surf music and what else. A true hotch potch of sounds and ideas. Most of them are well made, sometimes they miss the point at all, but that’s hardly a problem. Throughout it’s a very nice CD of mixed media poptunes.”
F.D.W. / Vital Weekly

Born in a Night

Staubgold / Digital 4 CD/DL / Analog 4 LP (2010)

Apparently residing somewhere between Sesame Street and Sunset Boulevard, in a building that’s part Heartbreak Hotel and part Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Hassle Hound proffer dayglo audio animations and melancholic, cinematic avant-noir. Born In a Night sees them continue their effervescent assault on bland Ikealectronica and insipid samplers. In this, their follow up to the critically acclaimed ‘Limelight Cordial’, Hassle Hound integrate kindergarten kitsch with moodier psychedelicate moments, documenting a celestial domesticity with eccentric but compelling instrumentation and intriguing ideas. Their irreverent and eclectic approach results in a collection of complex, yet cohesive songs each with its own idiosyncratic sonic identity. Their curious blend of sampled sounds, field recordings, electronic noises and live instruments creates a simultaneously sophisticated and naïve seduction. Angelic melodies tussle with radiophonic dexterity, digital caresses, analogue whispers and jolly anarchy.


Reviews:

“What a pleasure! Twisted pop, highly electronified, sample-rich, satirical, charmingly strange…”
Monsieur de Lire Journal d’écoute

“…Glasgow’s Hassle Hound is just the type of group to inject some much-needed life into lap-pop, creating a swirling fun house of melody and whimsy on second album Born In A Night. Showcasing a fascinating and often quite fun array of ambient layers, sonic stimuli and melodic mischief, Born In A Night connects the dots between Tunng’s graceful synth-folk and Fog’s early oddball experiments. The album’s first track, “Oropendula” juxtaposes a Spaghetti western whistle, sci-fi bleeps, a one-chord guitar strum and reverb-laden vocals that, when combined, make for something almost more eerie than silly. Yet “Metropolitan Tower” takes on a slightly more conventional approach, though one still characterized by quirk and defiance of convention. Metal squeaks and Atari video game sounds adorn a pretty and elegant melody made slightly danceable. Meanwhile “Hit It And Trip Up and Cherub and Sing” marries old-timey ragtime rhythms to click-clacking percussion and a chorus of female voices. However, the factory shuffle of “Everything Turns” would be far more melancholy and desolate, were it not for the recurrent plod.

Born In A Night seems almost bipolar in its movement between cartoonish, off-the-wall sounds and somber, atmospheric melodies. Frankly, if Hassle Hound were a person, I’d be a little worried about his state of being. But as a musical outlet, Born In A Night proves continually fascinating, revealing numerous aspects of their personality frequently in just one song. This is, by all means, a very strange record, but it’s a good strange, and the best kind of confusion music can offer”.
Jeff Terich, Treblezine

“…this Glasgow trio create music that has a ramshackle immediacy masking a complexity of sounds, ranging from field recordings to spoons, making up the mess. Singer Ela Orleans manages to wring ennui and joy from her odd, compact vocal range. Multi-instrumentalists Tony Swain and Mark Vernon shift from guitar, bass, drums and laptop to odd little twinkly things as the mood hits. In the field of naïve-yet-savant musicians (say, Maher Shalal Hash Baz or Pastels), Hassle Hound may be reaching furthest outwards”.
Eric Hill, Pop Rocks

“With this new album, Staubgold carve their reputation a little bit deeper as a label for good quality popmusic. The opening ‘Oropendula’ is straight away a killer song. It’s not easy to beat that. Hassle Hound play popmusic, but one that is a curious mixture of styles. The singing is most of the times folk like, but there are elements of electronica and laptop doodling around here too, no doubt thanks to Vernon’s input. Based on samples as well as playing their instruments themselves makes a very strange version of popmusic, but also a very coherent one. A unity in diverseness, if you can imagine such a thing. … A true pleasure this one, excellent summer music”.
Fraans de Waard, Vital Weekly