Having teased us with a series of brilliantly impressive, unique and captivating electronic soundscapes and songs in recent months, producer and artist Ethan – otherwise known as Hideotronic – has finally released the full-length album that is DataBass, and it’s everything we could have hoped for.
Beginning with the nostalgic and gentle story-telling of Thunderclouds, engaging rhythms and dreamlike synths softly envelop the listener, escorting them to a thoughtful realm, loaded with memories alongside refreshing melodies and a heartfelt core that’s quick to connect.
Afterwards, the sudden passion and optimism of Arianna kicks in with absolute brightness and energy. A brilliant hook, gorgeously raspy, emotional vocals, and another story-line and multi-layered soundscape that effectively ignites a whole new level of beauty and pop-positivity.
Kicking things up a few notches, adding eclecticism early on, CyberFunk features a classically funky arrangement and an impressively entrancing verse from rapper Niq Venus. Nineties hip hop meets with Daft Punk-esque hook vocals and a general sense of possibility and fun. Then you get the sci-fi soaked thoughtfulness of the album’s title track, a blissful audio experience with stunning melodies and intricacies throughout. A brilliant moment to escape into. An early highlight.
As the project continues, Shadows furthers that cinematic overtone with another dreamlike few minutes of (mostly) instrumental prowess. Flying then brings delicacy, an aura that represents well the concept implied by the title. Think eighties teen or adventure movies, but with a seductive hit of saxophone. Another personal highlight, complex and ever-changing, yet beautiful and emotive every step of the way.
At the half-way point, Speed Of Light feels like a mainstream hit, balancing that clear Owl City influence with something a little more Empire Of The Sun or even Coldplay. The infamous Android follows with its quickly familiar riffs and electronic delicacy. It becomes clear that this is undoubtedly one of Ethan’s most eclectic projects to date, and still he manages to maintain these distinctive threads of identity that make it all fit well within the experience.
Alone In The Dark is stunning – questioning, hopeful, building up beautifully – another absolute highlight, addictive and a personal favourite for its progression and poetic observations alike. Then Miki puts her stamp on things as the fast-paced, distorted Behold The Hunted kicks into gear. A mighty arrangement, of consistently impressive songs worth celebrating.
During the final quarter, The Dragon’s Wings adds a further hit of adventure-led escapism, then Emerald Eyes mellows things out for a moment of quiet reflection. And afterwards, Artificial adopts a major key optimism to question the very nature of AI, the future of tech, and its implications where love is concerned. An easy-going song that takes a lighthearted approach to discussing something that quite eerily lingers in the air above tomorrow.
Impending Dawn follows and brings things to a funky bass-led finish, with a subtle hint of retro sci-fi and a nostalgic set-up that progresses to become quite beautiful; the sun comes up, the old fades away, uncertainty arises, but ultimately – the new begins. Superb levels of detail allow varying drum lines and melodies to rain down in an unquestionably professional, skillful fashion. A great way to go out.
I remember holding on,
I remember the warmth of your skin just before you were gone,
Feel the wind from the breath of a ghost, even death is a con.
How much longer before the dusk turns to dawn?
A master of sound design, composition and songwriting alike, Hideotronic is up there with the best of them – the creative producers, the artists, the writers with something authentic to say; and refreshing ways of saying it.
Even at fourteen tracks deep, this album fails to disappoint, or to let go of your affection. Download it, stream it, share it with your friends. Enjoy it.