After the release of his Presence app--a tool designed to inspire people to spend more intentional time with God--Andy Hunter put together the songs he created for the project and released it as his latest album Presence. It seems that creating music for the specific purpose of spending intentional time with God, as noble of a goal as that is, has tamed this beast of the Christian techno market. Techno thrives on being edgy and exciting. It can be slow or quiet and still be really good, but it is a more difficult task to accomplish. If anyone can do it for a full album, it's Andy Hunter, but Presence is not necessarily it.
Almost all of the songs on Presence are meant to accompany a specific Bible verse, which is alluded to in the song titles. Each song comes with a short devotional message in the album insert that is both poetic and inspirational in nature. It's a nice idea but unfortunately the musical competent of the Presence Project is fairly forgettable. For example, "Over The Water" and "Transform" have a decent beats and are just dynamic enough to make it nice to listen to, but does not stick in your head the way that some of his previous works "Go" or "Wonders of You." The opening track "Sensing Grace" starts off slow with highly produced xylophone-styled synths but picks up with a relatively aesthetic beat with strong bass for the majority of the track. "Be Still"--based on Psalm 46:10 "be still and know that I am God"-- features a reverb-heavy piano and slowly brings in industrial synthesizers. Ironically, "Be Still" builds some tension at the halfway mark only to completely dissipate and fade out. The only song that leaves a lasting impression is "Morphed," largely due to it's catchiness and slight playfulness, but it's hard to say that it's a highlight because of the unnecessarily long quiet intro and outro.
If the idea of having some subdued techno music for your quiet time sounds like something you'd really like, this album is certainly worth listening to. It's also nice for background music in general, especially since there are no vocals (though the dubstep sounds on "Woven" might be a bit distracting). It's still Andy Hunter, so it's obviously an enjoyable listen, but as a work of art Presence is not up to par with Andy's previous releases.
- Review date: 9/29/16, written by Christopher Smith of Jesusfreakhideout.com