If we’d have to make quick associations, José Mourinho would be Lord Voldemort (or Gargamel), Ibiza a gram of MDMA and dubstep an X-ray photo of the bowels of London developed in a cellar full of spliffs. This is a genre that embodies the contaminating diastole of the big city, a suburban sound dominated by bass sounds and dark alley futurism. Maybe that’s why it’s always good to find some dissonant ingredient in the cocktail of stereotypes, giving the recipe a new dimension. Hyetal has done it, he’s made his post-dubstep as cosmic as it can get, giving the music the emotional depth of the Kleenex, ice cream tubs and eye drops kind. The experiment is tremendous.
Thanks to David Corney, Bristol is being spelled with the B of bass again. But the handwriting is different. There’s bass in large quantities, of course, but it’s floating in a mist of tear-jerking dubstep of which the first priority is to generate mind states, not only to satisfy the needs of the reptilian clubber brain. “Broadcast” has an unmistakable touch of eighties synth electronica and camouflaged giallo. The early Depeche Mode-like drums and the Vangelis-style synths – ”The Chase” is pure “Blade Runner”– dominate on the best pieces: journeys through time, back and forth, in an eternal loop, reshaping the past in order to change the future, i.e. our present.
“Beach Scene” is a clear example: the melody tastes of unadulterated space nostalgia; the rhythmic structures are based on echoing claps, there are melancholic alien synths, the mood is devastatingly sentimental and there are traces of old school IDM. It’s a futurist ballad, danceable and beautiful, which in its perfection holds the constants of a producer capable of keeping his fans up all night smoking weed, with tears in their eyes. If the symphony of ambient, bass, garage, synth-pop and dreamy electro of “Phoenix” doesn’t turn you inside out, you can delete the album from your iPod. If “Searchlight” doesn’t capture you, with its John Carpenter revival sound, vocal samples and winks to Chicago from a flying saucer, stop reading this review. If you’re not convinced by the watery dub/bass/house of “Boneyard”, you’d better look elsewhere.
Pardon the snobbishness, but the truth is that Hyetal isn’t for everyone. But, although the road is winding, it’s impossible not to become engrossed with its sound. It requires several listening sessions, but after three or four times, the cosmologic architecture of “Broadcast” sticks to your soul like a leech. Especially when the female vocals come in, a well-used feature that gives tracks like “Black, Black, Black” and “Diamond Islands” an irresistible melodic extra and, of course, an astonishing capacity of emotional absorption. Hyetal’s debut sounds different, it hides in the reign of quarks and electrons, a zone still forbidden even to the most intrepid Ethernauts. The laws of physics have no reason of being in the world of the Bristolian genius, a place made of pure emotion where the flies fly low and the streetlights flicker lazily. I’m trapped.
Hyetal - Beach Scene