Somniloquy

Belgian techno-trance merchants Hybryds, active in the 1990s and beyond, have been the subject of a regular reissue programme by the Polish label Zoharum; we received two such packages already, most recently with Mistrust Authority & Tectonic Overload. Today’s offering yokes together Dreamscapes from a Dark Side and Voices Without A Sound (ZOHARUM ZOHAR 179-2) in a hefty double-disc set.

Previous records have featured plenty of acid-fried beats and tribal-techno aspects, concentrating on using rhythm and electronic drumming to free the constrained pagan spirits within the audience, but this double set is quite different, shaping up as a real ambient darkster full of shadows and fog. One might broadly characterise it as ambient sounds with samples from movies, the latter move being something of a gaffe, except that we can make allowances because these recordings were made in the 1990s. I’m certainly enjoying Dreamscapes from a Dark Side. Finally a piece of music from Hybryds which a fellow can appreciate without the distractions of bouncing beats and bashes. There are 18 tracks, but the whole thing segues into a suite of queasy dreamster voyaging which would allow you to enjoy a visionary psychedelic snooze for approx. one hour. All the music is credited to Magthea. I’ve not looked too deeply into the personnel of Hybryds, suspecting them to be more like a shape-shifting festival collective similar to Hawkwind, but this time there are some printed credits for such oddly-named weirdniks as Ah Cama Sotz and Ira Deprofundis, the latter being a perfect name for this slightly Lovecraftian episode of dark dreaming. Real “Beyond The Walls Of Sleep” music it be, with its denatured and glorpy synth murmurs and unsettling pulsations. While there is certainly an occluded and mysterious atmosphere to be had from these drones, it’s not “threatening” in the way that some dark ambient types (e.g. Contrastate or Band Of Pain) tend to rejoice in, is more benign in tone, and provides much-needed stimulation to the imagination. As the nights draw in, here’s your perfect bedtime listening.

Where Dreamscapes is mostly “musical”, Voices Without A Sound is naturally more vocal-oriented in its focus, and is based around samples taken from various short movies, which I assume are obscure instances of European art cinema. There’s a list of them printed inside the cover for those who wish to investigate further. Most of the recordings here date from 1999, some additional tracks from a little later. The method seems to be mostly about creating layers and loops, so rather than letting the audience understand the content of what is being said, the speaking voices are transformed into strange entities, their vocal cadences creating unusual textures and shapes. There’s still the same hypnotic pull in the music (again, all credited to Magthea), but it’s somewhat more dynamic and elliptical than the Dreamscapes suite; the latter has much more of a continual, all-in-one feeling, while Voices is episodic, like entering a vaguely nightmarish realm while falling asleep in front of the telly while the remote automatically scans across all the world’s cable stations. A very strong release; Hybryds are growing on me. Not sure about the cover artworks to this one, but the music is great. From 2nd August 2019.

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