On the Radar: Hypnobeat – Prototech

Influential electronic act, Hypnobeat, see a re-release of their 80’s work collected in one handy vinyl release. The Waveform Transmitter’s Andy Weights toasts the achievements of the underground techno stalwarts.

In 1983 a couple of irregular blokes put their electronic, machine minds together and created Hypnobeat. Members James Dean Brown and Pietro Insipido, followed later by Victor Sol and, in time, Tobias Freund, forever changed the face of techno as we knew it.

Using a sonic arsenal of Roland-808s, TB-303s, MC-202s, plus a wide range of analogue gear, including six synched-up rhythm machines, Hypnobeat conceptualized a “neo tribal” approach, adding the hypnotic, rhythmic core to the emotional scarceness of the electronic instruments available at that time, supplying their own brand of energy and improvised sets that centred around poly-rhythms and feeling.

Active contributors to the tape scene of the 80s, two cassette releases surfaced – 1985’s Huggables, and the following year Specials/Spatials.

Brown activated Narcotic Syntax in the 90s, a more modern, digital infused affair, planted in the Perlon Label family, although never losing the Hypnobeat concept of a “new tribalism”, not least on their Provocative Percussion double 12″ released in 2006. A further Hypnobeat collaboration saw Helena Hauff involved in tech-instrument ridden range of 2013 live performances.

Now, we see the group return with the release of Prototech. A scorching collection of the group’s early music made between 1984-86. The album takes on a punky ethos abound with sophisticated ideals, wrapped in passages of harmonic cohesion.

Opener, The Arumbaya Fetish cowbells the shit out the 808s, while the track Kirlian resembles the bleak industrial times it represented. Can God Rewind? performs complex percussion, with textured, strong synth lines that thrust and weave as they create a twisted, acid disco for your ears to swallow.

Slash! Buffalo Eats Brass utilises the TB-303 with nifty drums, creating a soundscape rather uncommon for its 1986 inception.  Moon jump sees more acidy 303 lead lines rain down like hot molten lava falling from the sky, while Mission in Congo perfectly sums up Hypnobeat’s percussive personality.

Last track is Donna Gift #2. This track was created live to accompany a mate’s reading. due to a lack of a microphone the sound needed to be severely muted, so much so it was barely a whisper. So, Brown took his recording home and found that the happy accident in modern terms would be considered electro-funk. Just to show that from chaos is born inventiveness.

Hypnobeat’s Prototech will be released through a collaboration between labels Dark Entries and Serendip Lab and is available as a 2×12” EP on the 20th September. Soak up the vibes, absorb the atmosphere and touch the feeling of this important re-release by the grandfathers of techno on the vinyl texture the sound was designed for.

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