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Record Review


"Progressive" is a loaded term. It implies a responsibility to improve not only upon yourself, but also your influences and contemporaries. So carrying "progressive trance/house/breaks, etc." as a permanent placeholder is a bit of a heavy load.

But what if you actually progressed? That's the case with Hybrid, the Welsh cinematic breakbeat collective (now a duo). Firmly established after its 1999 debut full-length, Wide Angle, and an opening stint for Moby, Hybrid seemed to then immediately descend back into the studio save for occasional DJ dates. But now finally releasing sophomore album Morning Sci-Fi, Hybrid has widened the group's angle. The offering incorporates more grit, menace and moody melody, including keyboard swoops, grainy guitars and overt Depeche Mode/New Order tendencies. Living up to the collective's name, there's increased live instrumentation melded to sensual synth symphonics for a more hybrid sound.

The result is rolling, bulbous bass rumbles that provide an enveloping bed to cushion dynamics from brooding to blissful. The percussion is taut and flat, post-techno compacted clap, while the symphonic embellishment (courtesy of the Russian Hermatige Orchestra) is euphoric. The mix is a semi-murky, syrupy miasma. There's enough going on that superfluous drops, swirls and swells aren't necessary to artificially jog emotion, though dramatic movements abound for those familiar with the hallmarks.

Feel compelled to progress to Morning Sci-Fi.

Hybrid plays at the Riviera Wed., Nov. 26. Call for ticket info.

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