The Howard Hughes Suite – Smoke From a Future Fire

On Smoke From a Future Fire, The Howard Hughes Suite created lonesome ambient soundscapes that are just as informed by the cosmos as they are by the ghosts of country music’s past.

Currently based out of London, The Howard Hughes Suite combines elements of blues and country music, like pedal steel and slide guitar, with experimental flourishes like backwards effects, heaps of reverb and interstellar clouds of synthesizer drones. The resulting mix of sounds, especially on this record, is both haunting and gorgeously ethereal. If you could imagine the movie The Hired Hand taking place on an asteroid hurtling through the edge of the solar system, then it might sound something like this.

What sets the music on this record apart from some of its ambient country contemporaries, is its deeper lean into the terrestrial country side of the sub genre’s spectrum. Several songs, like his cover of Rainer Ptacek’s “Opening Aunt Dora’s Box In 6/8,” and the title track, feature more straight, untreated acoustic and slide guitar and trotting drums. These slightly more conventional sounding tunes always lead into spacey and unorthodox songs, like the collage-like adaptation of “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground.” It’s like THHS pulls the listener in with these familiar roots sounds, and then launches them into these more far-out zones, just when they’re feeling comfortable. This quality alone might make this album the perfect introduction to the ambient country sound for the hesitant and the uninitiated.

Filled with rural dust and melancholic celestial vibes, Smoke from a Future Fire is a must have album for fans of SUSS, North Americans and Ezra Feinberg. Click here to get your copy now.


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Published by Record Crates United

Keith Hadad, the creator and manager of RCU, has been a contributing writer to Elmore Magazine and and maintains a regular column, “Keith Hadad’s Choice,” in Blicker magazine. His writing has also appeared in the Smithsonian Folkways' Guest Blog and the Optical Sounds Fanzine. Also, please check out the blog's super-active Instagram account, @recordcratesunited for daily blurb-styled music reviews.

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