Recently, Beatbox Machinery unleashed a massive box set, A Synth Trilogy (VHS Edition), to commemorate the 200th release on his Werkstatt Recordings label. One track that stands out for me above all 51 of them is “Battery Hydra,” a minimalist techno cut that reinforces my theory that Beatbox is nearly unclassifiable.
Rhodes, Greece-based Toxic Razor, the producer behind Beatbox, certainly injects nearly all Beatbox cuts with a supreme level of darkness, tapping into the better devils of industrial and electronic body music and dousing it in a fire of darkwave and darksynth and all sorts of other genre labels one could think of to describe such things — and he does it well.
Throughout the box set there are moments when it seems Beatbox could be writing the soundtrack for a darker, more compelling version of the video game Hotline Miami, and then there are moments when he should be DJing in some illegal warehouse party in Brooklyn — or Berlin.
On “Hydra,” Beatbox brings us to that unsanctioned soiree while tapping into the roots of his ancestors.
If you recall, the hydra in Greek mythology was a multi-headed serpent that grew new heads whenever someone cut one off. Everything about it was fatal.
On Beatbox’s “Hydra,” the ominous vocals, jagged bass line, and distorted techno synthesizer all burn up everything in their path, leaving only a clean and steady backbeat to keep things moving. I get the feeling that if someone were to cut that synth, two more would show up in its place. And that’s a beautiful thought.
As an aside, I should note that this song is a natural sibling to the Billions & Billions cut “Tractor Beam,” a collaboration between Mike Simonetti (formerly of Italians Do It Better, now of Pale Blue and 2MR Records) and Monty Luke (Black Catalogue).