Escape Into The Park, Singleton Park, Swansea,
14 August 2004
release of 1999's 'Wide Angle' saw Hybrid announce themselves
as major league dance music players of the same pedigree
as big guns Underworld, Orbital and the Chemical Brothers.
Using emotive strings courtesy of the Russian Federal Orchestra
and garnering the vocal talents of both Julee Cruise and
the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, they took the dance blueprint
and expanded on it giving their sound a depth and warmth
often absent from many electronic acts’ output.
more stripped-down approach is evident as core members Mike
Truman and Chris Healings take their live ensemble to the
stage for what is their first ever gig in front of a Swansea
home crowd. What we are left with are some live drums, two
huge banks of synths and some live vocals while touring
with Moby seems to have had its effect
as 'Bodyrock' style guitars are thrown in to roughen their
otherwise pleasantly polished sound around the edges.
take the swell of suspense-filled strings, skipping breakbeats
and monstrous basslines to create a crisp, elating mix of
well-produced hands-up dance and brooding orchestral soundtracks.
We are also treated to the unmistakable sound of Peter
Hook's bass overlaid with Adam Taylor's tough,
shouty vocals but the early afternoon slot they occupy takes
some of the magic away from what is otherwise an uplifting,
copious amount of dry ice pumped out during Hybrid's set
does not quite have the same effect in the scorching sunlight
as it would post-dusk and they are deserving of a much larger,
evening audience. Add this to the fact the string sections
are synthesised rather than live, perhaps due to the timing
of their appearance or just plain logistics, and it seems
clear the band are only operating at about seventy percent
of their potential.
still provide an enjoyably enlivening set, finishing with
best known hit and TV favourite 'Finished Symphony', and
manage to demonstrate, in spite of the many limitations
placed upon them, that electronic music can be warm and
human rather than cold and clinical. Next time they should
be given a headline spot, guest vocalists and a forty piece
orchestra and then they can truly move and inspire as they
are so clearly capable of doing.
- Ian Roullier, 08/2004