It is with mixed emotions that we approach the greatest hits collection of famed electronic music trio Hybrid entitled Classics. Some of the older artists we’ve looked back on this year who’ve enjoyed success in previous decades have either suffer from overexposure ala the Crystal Method or have become laughably out-of-date like Paul Oakenfold. Many of the more progressive elements of Hybrid’s music is woefully not in sync with today’s audience but so much of the cinematic territory these guys minded on cuts like “”Finished Symphony” sounds as fresh today as a more timeless artist like Orbital.
Things start off well enough on Classics with the aforementioned “Finished Symphony” filled with its swelling strings, atmospherics, and surprisingly tasty progressive break beats. What isn’t as delicious are the obvious BT leanings, a very popular contemporary, a if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em mentality seems to be in play, not to mention that the track sounds vaguely like a theme to some terrible Fox Network procedural drama that hasn’t aired…yet.
Many of the tracks on this collection were culled from the group’s seminal classic Wide Angle, a high water mark for the genre. The stuttered edits of both “If I Survive” and “Higher Than A Skyscraper” are strictly 1999 window dressing, but the string sounds, vocals, and gorgeous melodies won’t go out of style any time soon, and that’s the cornerstone of what keeps these guys relevant after all of these years. The wobbled bass lines are a curious oddity, a legacy of the old breakbeat era but also sounding like a precursor to some styles of dubstep that are currently popular. In opposition to the squeaky clean style typical of most Hybrid productions; “True To Form” is a dark, murky pop number with orchestral dramatics serving as backdrops for something far more radio oriented that floor filling. “Dogstar” and “Formula of Fear" explore the whole rocktronica thing with the same professional cleanliness of the Crystal Method and the same amount of soul and conviction – zero. “Keep It In The Family” finds Hybrid in more comfortable surroundings with a track bordering on their ambient work for film and television, an area in which they excel, as they do here. “Just For Today” and “Break My Soul” might as well be Celine Dion on pills, they are both more pop and theater than actual tracks, a line Hybrid blurred for worse many times. They also blurred that line for the better, especially on the amazing midtempo original “Disappear Here”, a song so pleasant and catchy it would still be a hit if it came out today, despite changing tastes.
Things end on a puzzling note with the cover version of “Enjoy The Silence”, an overused and cliché track in the world of dance music. The version is slick but not without its grace and charm, something that can be said about Hybrid as well. The remix wasn’t necessary and feels like one of those tacky new track ploys that artists use to attract press attention to the media poisonous greatest hits collection. There is enough overall on Classics to look back with fondness but nothing to make us run out and recommend it to all of our friends and family as a must-have release.
Title: Classics LP
Tracklist01. Finished Symphony02. If I Survive03. True To Form (Acoustic Mix)04. Higher Than A Skyscraper05. Dogstar06. Keep It In The Family07. Just For Today08. Formula Of Fear09. Disappear Here10. Break My Soul11. Enjoy The Silence
Our rating: 6.5/10