It’s difficult second album timefor Hybrid, whose 1999 record Wide Angleannounced them as quality purveyors of wide screenhouse and breakbeat, with the added bonus of a near classicalmastery of orchestration in hits Finished Symphony andIf I Survive.
In demand as remixers from the likes ofRadiohead, Moby and Future Sound Of London, they canafford to push the budget out a bit on Morning Sci-fi. In fact we find them in a similar frame of mind, still geared towards a Pro-Logic sound, but given a newlease of life with the addition of vocalist AdamTaylor, whose tone on True To Form is not unlikethat of one time Mansun singer Paul Draper.
True To Form is one of two numbers featuring New Orderbassist Peter Hook, who gives this track anedgy splendour with a riff straight out of his backcatalogue. His influence is less obvious in HigherThan A Skyscraper, where a slow tempo and swirlingportamento strings make a powerful impact.
Kirsty Hawkshaw lends vocals to Blackout, which islyrically unconvincing, ending the album on anuncertain note. Better to head for one of the qualityinstrumentals such as Visible Noise, a wonderfullyatmospheric intro leading to a pounding house beat andstabbing synths.
I’m Still Awake is anothershoe-gazing moment vocally, with Taylor emoting over asmoky electro-soul backdrop. Marrakech, one of thebest tracks on the album, calls in Eastern influencesto add some colour.
If you’ve just got a new hi-fi,this would be the sort of album to test it out with, since ituses everything but the kitchen sink orchestrally. This has enabled Hybrid to create an album that is rich in texture, colourand harmony but is often dark and menacing and not to beused as a pick-me-up!
On the evidence of this there’sbig things ahead for the trio, whether it be insoundtracks or dance, with the prospect of Adam Taylordeveloping into a highly talented vocalist. Ones towatch!