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Hyetal – Broadcast review

Dave ‘Hyetal’ Corney’s much anticipated debut album brilliantly demonstrates his development as a producer. Initially celebrated for the atmospheric quality of his heavy dubstep beats and typically Bristolian fusions of techno and what’s glibly called “bass music”, Corney has gradually been moving in different directions for the past 12 months.

For those familiar with recent musical developments in his adopted home city of Bristol, it may not be much of a surprise. Having always been a city obsessed by bass and beats above all else, Bristol’s scene now boasts a mix of cutting-edge producers of touchy-feely house (Julio Bashmore, Outboxx), space-obsessed synth twiddlers (even techno stalwart October has released an EP of star-gazing nu-disco) and far-sighted labels keen to push next-level electronic music with no limits (Immerse, Soul Motive, Black Acre, Idle Hands etc.) – all, of course, with plenty of low-end pulse.

In the midst of all this open-minded musical experimentation, it’s no surprise that Broadcast is a much more musically complex beast than previous Hyetal releases. Of course, there are plenty of dubstep-influenced rhythms amongst the shimmering ambience and off-kilter beats, but the lasting impression is of shimmering electronics, heavy appreggios and luscious synthscapes. Check, for example, “The Chase”, with its almost cinematic sweeps and beatless, Italo-influenced rhythms, or “Phoenix”, a pleasingly innocent, almost Balearic fusion of chiming melodies, Bashmore-ish pads and skittering percussion.

Even the album’s heavier moments come cloaked in a veneer of sparkling beauty (see the glistening melodies and floor-pummeling beats of “Beach Scene”, or the crystalline disco-step of “Searchlight”), and there are enough deliciously touchy-feely downtempo moments to thrill all but the most hardened of bassheads (check the ambient opener “Ritual” and heady “Transmission”). Above everything else, Broadcast is a proper album – and a thrilling one at that.

Matt Anniss