Wide Angle

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Though the late '90s witnessed the advent of dozens of progressive-trance DJs and producers, few attempted to record a production LP. They preferred instead to release scads of mix albums, most of which purported to take listeners on a journey but did little more than offer frequent breakdowns and same-sounding tracks. Finally, the British team Hybrid delivered the goods with their full-length debut Wide Angle. Befitting the cinematic nod in the title, Hybrid often bedrocks their productions with film-music flourishes indebted both to traditional orchestration and the rock-based John Barry school of soundtracking; even when they're spinning through futuristic, warped trance with a roster of cutting-edge effects to impress even the most callused Global Underground fan, there's an undeniably cinematic grandeur to these productions. Hybrid utilizes slow-moving strings and gradually building chords, straight out of Gorecki's "Symphony No. 3" but surprisingly effective in this context. They also do well with collaborations, recruiting Julee Cruise for three beautiful tracks, the album highlights "I Know," "If I Survive," and "Dreaming Your Dreams." In similar fashion to the way Orbital -- another team with a good grasp of symphonic techno -- warped acid house and techno so they'd make as much sense on headphones as on the dancefloor, Hybrid bends the template of progressive trance to fit on the full-length realm, and with equally impressive results. (The American version of Wide Angle differs from the British one issued a year earlier in that two tracks featuring Cruise, "High Life" and "Fatal Beating," are missing, and three tracks, "Kill City (Edit)," "Kid 2000 (Edit)," and a second version of "Altitude," have been added. The tracks also seem to have been mixed and edited differently.)

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