19 Dec 2018
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Hybrid Rose - Album Review: Warhol

22 Jul 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

Rose Valentina Muollo-Gray AKA Hybrid Rose has put together a full album release, just over a year after the release of her cosmic album, COSMIC. The self-produced electronic artist falls mostly into the vaporwave genre, adopting influences from smooth jazz and lounge music, and the retro arcade style of chiptune. This latest album, Warhol, slated for release towards the end of August is a whirlwind trip of nostalgic, and otherwise retro, energy-infused dance tracks.

The album begins with Holographic Dreams, a positive and upbeat track, that sounds like an amalgamation of every “level completed” and “coin collected” tone from the memory banks. A reminder of the days before being able to play mp3’s on your phone, before even the days of polyphonic ringtones. A pacey number, with layers of different electronic tones. Hybrid Rose tracks are largely instrumental, with additional layers taking the place of vocal melodies. A well-balanced trick, that also provides more flexibility in sound, as you can harmonise electronic melodies much easier.

Moving into the more dramatic cinematic realms, the title track Warhol, has a much more mature sound. More reserved, with almost a hint of inner darkness embedded into it, it has a strong emotive feel that is reminiscent of Massive Attack’s Teardrop. With a shift away from a completely computer-generated sound, keys and piano are present and add volume and depth to the soundscape.

If you needed a soundtrack for an 80’s movie that requires some computer hacking done, look no further than Why Don’t You Love Me?. With a good pace and a heavy dose of pulsating synths, it embodies that whole era of 80’s ideological future tech; the neon colours, the collars, the glasses, the hoverboards and lasers. A nostalgic trip with that modern control of structure that makes it so smooth and agreeable to listen to.

The album contains a number of features, the most notable of which, and potentially the stand-out on the album outside of Warhol is Just Press Play, which features electropop artist Fanfickk. Unlike many features that just involve the artist singing along to some already determined lyrics in the chorus, Fanfickk’s influence is palpable. Her presence in the writing, arranging, and recording is apparent in the tracks distinctiveness compared to anything else on the album. With strong contrasts between the energy of the verses and choruses, moving from a slow melodic piece to the deluge of sound that constitutes the short but intense choral section, with only a couple of dissonant notes to act as a forewarning. An eclectic barrage of layered harmonies and frequencies over the top of the consistent vocals.

There is a solid block of high-energy poppy dance tracks locked in the centre of the album, with UFO, and Symphony, providing no vocal distraction. Just that categorical vaporwave sound that Hybrid Rose is known for.

The album ends with New York featuring Jahleel. Jahleel, who has collaborated with Hybrid Rose on her previous concept album on the track System Corrupt. Jahleel generally swings towards a more avant-garde style but provides a deep breadth with the vocal melody, and the interchange between Jahleel and Hybrid Rose’s melodies transitions well. The number of featured artists seem to signal an upcoming change in style, away from the poppy chiptune, evolving towards the more vocal-driven, cinematic, soulful, full-bodied sound.

A wide-ranging album, from light-hearted chiptune, to the more soulful, deep, and dramatic. There is such a variety of content, it will be interesting to see which direction Hybrid Rose will go in the future.


Review written by Alex Moulton

 

About Hybrid Rose

Citing a range of musical influences from Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) to Lady Gaga and Marina Diamandis, to Coldplay, Blenheim resident Rose Gray (aka Hybrid Rose) self-produces tunes that vary from chiptune ditty Video Games to the poppy, dance-y Pixel and distorted dubstep of Expectations.

Her influences go beyond music, however; the opening chords to Pixels came to her while watching an episode of Adventure Time for example. She also cites vintage design and graphics as an influence, especially in terms of the visuals she produces alongside her songs. While Gray doesn’t consider herself a political person, she says she’s very passionate about making change.

Her musical character is a little more involved however, and the music is occasionally politically inspired. Hybrid Rose, an electronic character. An infectious virus in your ears, an addiction you cannot quit.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hybrid Rose

Releases

Warhol
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Cherry
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Cosmic
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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