Hydergine – Augmented Reality EP (10 Years Reissue)

A lavish anniversary

Let’s start with a really big spoiler: ranges is among the classiest (Dub) Techno labels out there and this EP is big fat proof of that.

No surprise there though, really. Roberto Corizzo a.k.a. Hydergine has built a catalogue of releases that may be small (founded in 2014 and this is ranges012) but it’s studded with great releases of artists that cater to the more discerning audience.

No surprise part two: well, just look at who is on this one. Label owner Hydergine invited two remixers that are known to look (far) beyond the confines of the Dub Techno genre. Man of the moment Fluxion who keeps pushing the boundaries towards House and towards a sunny and friendly attitude without ending up in Deep House cliché – and bvdub, master of deep emotions and Ambient wall of sound perfectionist.

It’s even a little misleading to call this a reissue. Way too modest. Yes, the title track was published ten years ago (on Separate Skills, a small German label) and you might call it a reissue as the reshape we get is exactly that – a reshape, not a rebuild or a remix.

But.

“Augmented Reality” was the b-side of that 12″ back in 2011, and the other track (“Awareness Level”) isn’t featured here – and the two remixes push this way beyond a typical reissue. This is a big one.

Corizzo’s reshape is giving this track everything it might have been lacking to bring it up to DeepChord/Echospace level. A more defined, warmer and more present bass, slight work on the drums to give the track a better flow, taking out the claps the original track didn’t really need anyway. It’s more crisp, more defined and – as much as this may be a paradox for a reshape – even more timeless.

On his latest album “Parallel Moves” Fluxion already showed that he has a friendly and healthy disregard of Dub Techno definitions, happily taking the genre to the beach for a nice tan and letting it mingle among shades of House. At first glance, this remix is doing a similar thing. It’s faster, it’s more upbeat and the rhythm has been turned towards classic House.

But at the same time he adds these layers that are decidedly Dub Techno – weaving static that just loops and loops for example, and some repetitive chord stabs. And then he does something pretty sneaky: he just keeps adding things, and very new element changes the balance a little bit – first the chord progressions are turned up to give some punch, then he adds some nice pads for a while – he consistently changes the character of the track. He even does what a good magician does, doing something that will catch your attention while he does something that you won’t notice. In this case adding elements to the drum track that will have you listening while he takes out other elements without you noticing it. In the end you almost land in Tech House country and you wonder how you got there.

And then there’s bvdub. Is it any wonder that his contribution takes up the whole second side of the EP? Of course not. Anything below ten minutes would be called a short one. His “Worlds Fall Inwards Mix” needs almost eighteen minutes. Needs is the right word here. You can’t build up these deep and wide and expansive layers of sound and not let it go on for how long it might take to evolve, exist, tell its story, live its life.

It’s really classic bvdub, space larger than a cathedral, the sounds equally voluminous, with piano interludes and big vocals echoing, pleading, yearning – it’s all there, and it might have just come from one of his last albums, “Heartless” for example. Sometimes the angelic voices are just too holy and sometimes the intent of his piano interludes is just a little bit too obvious – both of this doesn’t happen here. I’m sure that Roberto Corizzo was celebrating both when Brock Van Wey agreed to do this remix and when it was delivered.

So – no, this isn’t just a reissue. It’s even more than just a ten year anniversary. It’s a benchmark for 2022.

Release for review:
HYDERGINE – AUGMENTED REALITY – RANGES – RANGES012

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