If there’s one thing the French are particularly good at doing, it’s electronica. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Hydroze Plus – a collaboration between Electronicat’s Fred Bigot and Foetus man JG Thirlwell – sounds more or less how you think it will: bleepy and very French, with the sort of overtreated and barely recogniseable vocals Thirlwell lends to his other recent collaborations. Bigot does the music; Thirlwell sings, with each taking a remix of the EP’s two main tracks to bring the total to four.
Overcoat and Calm Calm are the main tracks of the release, which I bought via digital download from Foetus.org. The former is by far the strongest – a very catchy mix of sub-bass, bleeps and vocoded-style vocals in the Tricky/Massive Attack vein, albeit with a distinctively Gallic ambience. Belladonna and Epi-dose are remixes of those, with Thirlwell and Bigot taking a mix each (of course, Epi-dose – Thirlwell’s treatment of Overcoat, is the stronger of the two).
Special mention should go to the packaging for the limited edition 10″ vinyl, designed by Thirlwell, which is four colours silkscreen on a transparent disc and comes in a clear hard plastic bag. The artwork majorly grosses me out (the record itself has a cross-section of an eyeball on it), but if you’re into biology, I’m sure you’ll love it: it’s quite beautiful in its own gruesome way.
The vinyl’s been out since June on French label Optical Sound, and the 30-Euro signed copies appear to have already sold out, but there are still a few discs available to those who want them, and plenty of digital downloads for those of us who just want the music. The digital release is only about £2 (depending on exchange rates) so it’s a pretty sweet deal, and includes JPEGs of the icky artwork. I’m not the type of person who would declare it genius if Thirlwell belched into a microphone, so taken purely on its own terms, I think this is a pretty good record that I’m glad I bought.