Hybrid – Soundsystem_01
Release Date: July 14, 2008
Admittedly, when I first listened to Hybrid's Sound-System_01, I didn't get it. Not to be like Tom Hanks in Big, but I just didn't.
Hybrid are an electronica band. With such a label attached to them, an individual is sure to put certain criteria into their sound. I expected to hear something I'd hear at a nightclub filled with ravers waving glowsticks and grinding up against one another. Yet, I found it not at all like the music I had prepared myself to hear. There were no digital beats, no thumping bass, and no little synthesized sound clips or audio bits sampled into the songs. This was bizarre. After playing the first disc (of two) once, I gave it a second listen. This time, I read the band's bio in the liner notes of the CD booklet. This completely changed my perception of who this group is.
Hybrid are actually two men from the UK, Mike Truman and Chris Healings, who do movie scores. Their repertoire consists of soundtracks to films like “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Deja Vu,” “Man on Fire,” and they also contributed the song “Prince Caspian” to the second “Chronicles of Narnia” soundtrack. And now that I understood them as a band, I could look at what they were doing with different eyes.
The first two tracks on disc one, “Desert Chase” and “Gamma,” sound how “Passion of the Christ” would sound if you put a digital edge on the Western instruments used in that soundtrack. It's got sounds of static, a few samples of synthesized strings, and a few other digital noises thrown in the mix. It's not until the third track, “Parks on Fire,” four minutes in, that the album starts to show it's potential, or the artist's potential, to be played in a club. Or in “the Matrix” soundtrack. It's short lived, however, as a few minutes later it's back to beat-less, orchestral instrumentation and ethereal synthesized sounds. Save for a song or two, the remainder of disc one plays out this way: a digital orchestra rather than a dance-hall hit.
On disc two of Sound-System_01, it turns around. For the people who may have purchased the album expecting more of an orchestral, instrumental, theatrical release, they might be disappointed. It takes a turn on them and starts to nod at the club fanatics. Suddenly, everything I had expected listening to the first disc came to light on the second half, i.e. the digital drumming, thumping bass and sampled audio clips.
This album is a great one for movie fanatics and club fanatics alike. And instead of integrating the two, they made a double disc to show how broad their style of music can reach. It's not just a soundtrack album for people who show an interest in science fiction or fantasy films. It's also not just an album for people who go dancing on the weekends. It's an intermingling of the two, separated by the few seconds it takes to change the disc in your player.