March 23, 2018

Hidden Empire - Mind Palace (2lp)

svt216lpBridging instrumental tact with melodic mysticism, live act and DJ duo Hidden Empire present their debut album Mind Palace, the fruit of their labour of one whirlwind year. On Stil vor Talent they find a welcome home, having already gained traction with several releases on the label as well as other renowned imprints such as Suara and Filth On Acid. Ranging from downtempo electronica to iterative techno with groovy house incursions, the diversity of the genres explored across the 12 tracks mirror the Cologne-based artists’ own sonorous influences as well as their diverse musical sympathies. Fluid, atmospheric tracks set a consistently lush vibe overall, from the esoteric kickoff track Journey into Self to subtle warm-up tools like the oriental-instilled Hummus and Fafnir, or the couple’s first vocal collaboration Pure. Fellow Cologne singer Inga Nelke brings a touch of sensuality with her soft vocal chops atop a broken beat-infused melody accented with gripping piano chords. But it’s in club tracks that the album abounds, found often in antithetical pairings, whether it’s the marriage of a Moog bassline and warm Caribbean rhythms in Detroit in Limbo or the juxtaposition of analogue and digital rhythms on In The Woods, created using sylvan recordings as percussion. It’s the title track Mind Palace, however, that reaches the apex of antipolar combinations, displaying a breakbeat-heavy lead doused in exotic vocals perched onto a steady bassline, underlining the artists’ knack for innovative rhythms.