Musically, H-p1, White Hills second full-length for Thrill Jockey, expands on the explorations of previous albums in ambience, noise, and space rock all led by guitarist Dave W.'s blistering guitar solos. This is the most fully realized White Hills album to date and the one that takes them furthest from their pure space rock roots. It is also their most angry record. It is a reaction to what White Hills sees as government co-opted and controlled by corporations. It is a wake up call:
We can barely pay our rent each month but we are willing to pull out our credit cards and go into debt each time a new iPhone promises a better connection. The joke is on us. Our greater connectivity has caused us to disconnect from our humanity. We have been sold the religion of consumerism to feed the corporate machine. We have been tricked into believing that wanting our tax dollars to pay for our own health care is treacherous to the ideals of a democratic society. H-p1 is symbolic of the simplification of complex ideas to keep the masses from questioning the system. – Ego Sensation
The cover is a stark, colorless landscape, a metaphor for the status quo, while the inside and the record are an attempt to break free from this bland existence. The music and the photo inside are loud, colorful, exuberant, and alive.
H-p1 was recorded at the Ocropolis in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on September 7th & 8th 2010 by Shahin "Showtime" Motia (guitarist of Oneida) and mixed by Dave W. & Pierre Auntour in NYC and by Antronhy in Nottingham, UK. The album was mastered by Heba Kadry at the Lodge. A notable difference is the addition of synthesizer player, Shazzula, for the recordings. Shazzula has performed with the group in Europe on and off throughout the last year. There was no compression used on the record. Instead distortion boxes were used to enhance the natural dynamics of the songs. "The recordings captured a natural ebb and flow of the instruments within each song. For this reason I did not ride the faders while mixing the record to bring out certain instruments over others. It is the way it happened when it was recorded." said Dave W.
H-p1 is the cry for the disenfranchised, the exposure of the ills that the corporate-controlled governmental system has put in place. This seventeen minute song is the summation of the album, the point when the protagonist delivers his realization and vision of a solution to the masses. There is another way. You don’t have to be a drone.
"[White Hills is] one of the years gnarliest psych slabs – a schizophrenic trip through Acid Mothers Temple riff bludgeon, Boris chug, shaggy pseudo-grunge, and tender bursts of formless noise." – Village Voice
"I found my infinite headbang in White Hills, a relentlessly heavy psych-rock band with scorching wah-wah and fantastic outfits." – NPR All Songs Considered (Lars Gotrich)
"A perfect space-rock storm of drone, mind-melting psychedelia, overdriven guitars and heavy bass, White Hills is the rightful heir to Hawkwind's massive legacy." – Goldmine