Various Artists
Hybrid Components

By Miles Hawthorn

Mixed bag of stuff here on a label out of Canada, but presenting an international array of artists. There are some familiar names, some unknown (to me anyway) and also some decent music, some excellent music.

The album opens with Proem’s Second Class Citizen, a sweet breakbeat driven electronic number with a rising and falling melody, and just a hint of melancholy. It doesn’t take long though before some seriously deranged electronics make an appearance, as veteran beat destructors Somatic Responses erupt into bass heavy industrial broken beats that are fast, frantic and abrasive. Bass kicks like thunderclaps and drums like hydraulic pistons; their music always sounds like machinery on the move. Panacea's When Panacea Strikes is anthemic German-style jungle with big builds and a dark vocal. It’s a decent track but nothing new from an established name. Next up is Ammo Mother of Toads which boasts a tornado of deftly spliced beats that literally picks you up and chucks you out breathless at the end. Boasting deep, deadly sub notes, the track constantly catches you off guard, twisting into something else when you least expect it, another flurry of drums, another bass drop or even a burst of opera at one point. It’s also absolutely rocking and probably one of the best tracks on here. One of the other best cuts is by another name unknown to me, Gys, with the imaginatively titled Beep, which is another total stormer. Propelled by a real stalking and rattling bassline, this is like exploring an abandoned mineshaft, all clanking tones and echoes. It’s minimal yet totally involving, a more roughly hewn Basic Channel sound and a good lesson in the art of maintaining atmosphere. Somatic Responses close the album with a track under their Xynomorph pseudonym, Bag of Slugs. It is nasty and unpleasant, as you would expect; totally scary industrial electro, like Control Tower with added clatter. It may be mid paced (for them), but possesses more snarl and bite than a pack of hungry wolves.

This is a great album, not only because there’s some great music on it, but also because there is such a mixture – from gorgeous electronica to straight up techno to industrial noise-making. Music suffers from so much genre division and ignorant pigeonholing, that it’s great to see someone who isn’t afraid to put Proem next to Panacea, and Phluidbox next to the Somatics. An album that has more than its fair share of great moments and one I would love to get on vinyl.
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