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Dan Barracuda playing guitar

Dan Barracuda knows something about pushing a genre’s limits. For over a decade, he’s created eclectic musical projects like a silent film with a live ensemble and a theatrical rock production about dreams. It’s no wonder he paid tribute to someone who broke a core tenet of his own genre.

Inspired by legendary journalist Hunter S. Thompson, the eponymous track dives into the stories that made Mr. Thompson so famous. By immersing himself in the story, he gave up objectivity to express an authentic view.

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Dan Barracuda directly explains that with the lyric, “he knows the story firsthand.” He also weaves it into the orchestration, sometimes pushing the vocals or instruments back into the mix, almost like an aural representation of how close they are to the subject at hand.

“I don’t know Hunter very well, but it was inspiring when I learned how much he devoted himself to his art,” the singer-songwriter said in a statement.

Even the opening bars feel distant, almost a recording of a recording. Between that and the jazzy sax solos, the whole work floats a film noir vibe. Even the opening licks, which pop up periodically throughout the work, cross decades as they echo with tantalizing flat notes like a jazz call and response.

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By the end, it culminates in crashing chaos—overblown sax notes, repeating guitar riffages, and wild drums thirsty of attention until they suddenly die out, echoing into silence. In the final beats, Dan Barracuda draws inspiration from Mr. Thompson, who tragically took his own life.

Stream “Hunter S. Thompson” below.

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