While listening to a local music show on KBGA at work one afternoon, Hiper Lopro came on after a string of lo-fi local bands, and I was taken quite aback by the comparative fullness of sound. The guitars were coming out of—eeek!—both speakers simultaneously! There were multiple layers of instrumentation with shards of reverb and delay splintering and flitting around hither and yon, not unlike the evil space bees in Galaga. Why, when most local bands are content with hanging a Radio Shack mic from a light bulb and pressing “Record” on a Hello Kitty boombox, are Hiper Lopro aspiring to such Eno-esque heights on their recording? Well, for one thing, Hiper Lopro (shorthand for “high performance, low profile”) guitarist, vocalist, and co-founder Hank Donovan is co-owner of Bevel Studio, a newish local shop featuring 16-track digital ADAT recording. For another, drummer Steve Jacobs is owner of Sound Creations, a local company that does sound for live rock shows, weddings, festivals, etc. To defray the costs of hiring an outside recording engineer and, of course, studio time, is a tremendous conservation of a band’s resources, and frees them up to experiment a bit. The result is How to Track a Tornado, an 11-song CD to be released within the next week or two.
Hiper Lopro are contemporaries of bands like Shellac, Poster Children, and Silkworm, but exhibit frequent tips o’ the cap to the Pixies, Bauhaus, and The Cure with their infrequent dissonant, drony segues. But to appraise them solely on the merits of their music is to dismiss two-thirds of the whole. Hiper Lopro is a multi-platformed endeavor, a total artistic statement that encompasses art, design, and technology into its aesthetic. Donovan, a web developer by trade, designed, produced, and maintains the band’s website (http://missoula.big-sky.net/bazooka/new/index.cfm, soon to become www.hiperlopro.com) in addition to playing and recording. He also produced all of the band’s T-shirts on his basement silk screen. Second guitartist Nat Cundy is a professional graphic artist and lends his unique, retro- and pop culture-influenced design to the band’s flyers and T-shirts. Drummer Jacobs (formerly of Beef Trout and local country faves Swifty Morgan) adds his considerable recording expertise and live-playing experience. (It has yet to be determined exactly how bassist Adam Wilkinson’s vocation as a census taker fits into all of this.)
The CD project is an almost entirely digital—and yet homegrown—endeavor. It was recorded and mixed onto digital audio tape at Hank’s studio and mastered on his home computer, and Nat did the cover design on his Mac. Except for outsourcing for printing and duplication, the band calls all the shots from the get-go. It’s gonna be a bright tomorrow.
Hiper Lopro plays the Cowboy Bar next Thursday, Aug. 3. Cover TBA. Look for Hiper Lopro’s How to Track a Tornado at your neighborhood record store.