Various Artists – HyperSwim Review

For sure the London-based label Hyperdub needs no introduction for electronic music lovers. Founded by Kode9 in 2004, from its beginnings it’s been a beacon for those searching alternative electronic and underground stuff. Looking back at its catalogue the glance is remarkable: Burial, Laurel Halo, Lee Gamble, Klein, Fatima Al Qadiri, Jessy Lanza, Kode9 himself and, this year, the critically acclaimed Loraine James, just to name a few. Now that Hyperdub turns fifteen years old, there is no better way to celebrate than with nineteen new unreleased tracks from nineteen different artists from the current roster.

Released in partnership with Adult Swim, HyperSwim is a good cross-section of the current state of the label. If its first releases basically looked at dubstep and related styles, over the years the spectrum has definitely widened towards more influences. Nevertheless, you can feel the input of so many different artists, but at the same time find common roots in the post-dubstep universe.

You can find the opener “Games”, contribution of American multimedia artist MHYSA, that is a tender, hypnotic downtempo r’n’b song, but also the powerful Angel-Ho’s banger “Chaos”, an explosive mixture of hip hop and dystopian deconstructed industrial. An epic Kode9 suggest epiphanic flashes of strings in “Cell 3”. Lee Gamble’s “Chain 9” shakes with deep bass and techno groove surrounded by synthetic echoes. Laurel Halo also features the compilation, with “Crush”, a minimal, pointillist, IDM track.

However Burial’s “Old Tapes” is probably the most stunning track of the record. In less than eight minutes he combines echoes of 80’s nostalgic synth pop with a heartbreaking acappella and trance synth lines. Maybe it’s not his most unforgettable track ever, but the way he mixes so apparently distant sounds without loosing coherence is always admirable.

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