If you’ve watched a film or played a video game in the past 20 years, chances are you’ve heard something put out by UK-electronic group Hybrid. Their music has been featured on a staggering amount of projects, and it’s not hard to see why. Black Halo allows the duo consisting of Mike and Charlotte Truman to survey an electronic apocalyptic wasteland of sorts, recreating the turbulence that was the past year, but setting it in a dimension that parallels our own. The concept and execution of this idea is quite impressive, as Hybrid have a skill for marrying the complexity of orchestral music along with their roots, being in the forefront of the mid 90’s UK breakbeat and jungle scene. It really truly does feel like a soundtrack to the next big budget sci-fi film, and throughout the course of the album, you’ll be tempted to imagine the imagery that would accompany this album. Black Halo doesn’t need added imagery though, as it is able to stand confidently on it’s own. It’s the type of album that could only be created by seasoned musicians, as it feels like a fully fleshed out and mature work of art that has been painstakingly curated and fully realized.
Musically, this album is full of rich sounding compositions, high energy tracks as well as really lush and beautiful soundscapes throughout. The duality of sound that Hybrid is able to explore throughout Black Halo is impressive to say the least. Hybrid uses their skills as artists to navigate the highs and lows, and the opposite forces and altering emotions on Black Halo, which has a run time of an hour but somehow doesn’t overstay its welcome. There are so many richly engaging compositions throughout this record, particularly on the first half of this record. Tracks like ‘Nails’ and ‘Come Back To Me’ are able to captivate our attention with their complex electronic arrangements as well as bold lyricism that gets heightened with the vocal delivery that Charlotte is able to bring to the table within this duo. Black Halo is able to tell a story that not only engages it’s audience, but captivates them to create a lore and a world for this album to live in.
There are two distinct halves to this record that add to the overall storytelling of this record. The first half feels almost like this high energy dramatic introduction to the world this album takes place in, and on the back half Hybrid explores the same drama almost in a more somber and emotional tone. Again, listening to this record, you will quickly be able to realize why so many high budget productions salivate over the thought of having Hybrid compose tracks for their projects, as the duo are able to really sell audiences an emotion and run with it. It’s the type of record that is so difficult to write about, because there are so many things going on, that it’s difficult to really wrap your head around what you’re exactly listening to. All you can do is listen with your jaw straight to the floor and appreciate what you are bearing witness to.
Black Halo is one of the best electronic records to come out this year, being confident with what it is, taking extremely dense concepts and simplifying it for the listener. It’s the type of project that doesn’t come around all too often, and I could see this being an easy entry point for anyone who thinks that electronic music has become stale within the past few years, because this is anything but stale. Rating: 8.2/10
Favorite Tracks: Nails, Flashpoint, Come Back To Me
Least Favorite Track: Voices in the Static