"Life" Proves to Be Likeable Follow-up for Andy Hunter

Chris Well

Artist:  Andy Hunter
Title:  "Life"
Label:  Sparrow

For most Christian artists, the idea of a “crossover” is a pretty narrow concept: hope for a little radio airplay, try to place a song on a motion picture soundtrack, see if you can get a snippet of your song played in the background during a coffeehouse scene on “Smallville.” And, of course, the past couple of years have been an unprecedented time of Christian artists doing just that, and to great success.

But when ambient electronic worship music pioneer Andy Hunter broke through with 2002’s "Exodus," the British dee-jay took the Light into dark corners few could have expected. Tracks from the album turned up all over, from dance floors to major placements in film and TV (including the trailer for "The Matrix: Reloaded," and the ABC television series “Alias”) to video games (including “The Matrix” and “Black Hawk Down”).

Rather than letting the success go to his head, Hunter returns unfazed with the likable and inventive "Life." The six-song EP, produced and arranged by Hunter and Tedd T. (Sanctus Real, MuteMath), features a series of lush, dream-like sonic landscapes that combine ambient energy and clever, challenging polyrhythmic devices with singable melodies.

Better still, Hunter successfully reigns in the electronic madness to serve the messages of the songs. Carried by verbiage, chants, shouts and dreamy, angelic vocals, the songs are clearly focused on the Creator. The dramatic “Open My Eyes” is a prayer to see the world – and our lives – as the Lord sees them. “Come On,” a futuristic ode to the Lord’s Prayer built around the request “Your Kingdom come,” is an electrical reminder that the Lord’s Kingdom is timeless. The dreamy “Alive,” inspired by the heartbeat of Hunter’s own baby son, is a thrilled exclamation about the songwriter’s relationship with Jesus. The bouncy, playful “Wonderful” is a simple celebration of the Lord and life in Him.

Throughout the sonic journey, Hunter augments the digital proceedings with a heavy helping of electric guitars and live strings, bringing an unexpected warmth to the album. In all, "Life" is a remarkable achievement, adrenalized post-MTV worship music for the "Matrix" generation. In a culture where this style of music is the currency of the age, "Life" shines like a million bucks.

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