Jennifer Hruska: The Underground Forest
Boston-based musician Jennifer Hruska has made her career on the less glamorous side of the record industry. She’s been a sound designer, audio engineer, composer, electronic instrument designer, and president of a small recording studio. With apparently no other jobs for her to explore in the music business, Hruska has decided to take the plunge and step in front of the mic.
Her debut album The Underground Forest is a heavily produced electronic-acoustic hybrid that would play well in the chill room at a rave. The record is inspired by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes book Women Who Run with the Wolves which is a Jungian analysis of the Wild Woman archetype.
If that sounds like some heavy source material to base an album on, you’re right, but Hruska does a good job keeping it simple. The songs are earthy and feminist, but not in a way that will turn people off. This is more a celebration of natural liberation than a lecture on the decline of human nature.
The juxtaposition of acoustic tribal elements with heavy beats and synth effects underscores the overarching theme of finding the natural in the ultra-modern world. Spiritual but not dogmatic, it is definitely an album of its times. There is plenty of material here that will resonate with anyone living the organic, back-to-nature lifestyle.
As a whole, the album does have some faults. There are times when the synth effects are a little overbearing and a few of the songs fail to find a good hook. But as far as debut albums go I would definitely consider this one a success. With a handful of stand-out gems, the record is worth exploring. Here are my two favorite tracks. If you like these, make sure to check out her website for more.
Albums available at CD baby.