Hidden Empire’s “Black Beauty”

I’ve been away again, lost in another week-long project of mindless intensity and drawn-out hours. The first part is how I felt, the last being what it was. That’s my excuse for skipping the last seven days. But I’m back now, recovered and recuperated. So during that time, while slaving away, I was also background scouring the internet for new music, as well as test-driving a few of those Big Electric Playlists I’ve been compiling for this blog. On that latter point, I’m pretty satisfied. Play those lists on shuffle and they definitely do the trick. Regarding the former, that’s where tonight’s post comes in.

The work-oriented late nights tend to bring out the techno in me. So I easily gravitated to Hidden Empire’s snappy little tech-house gem “Black Beauty.” Admittedly, it makes me think of that old children’s novel about the horse. It’s the one from English author Anna Sewell, published in 1877. It tackles animal welfare, as well as the people side of that, and holds messages of kindness and respect. Sounds good to me. But who knows if that’s what these Cologne-based artists were thinking. Probably not, but it’s kind of a nifty idea.

Anyway, “Black Beauty” caught my attention before I caught the name. So I’ll start with that. This one coasts at a solid 126 bpm’s, and tends to aim for the subtle progression, a seemingly speedy repetitive electro house groove that introduces minimal layers of percussive slaps, slightly tense, steam-powered, and ricochet elastic. It also aims a bit into the dark aura, with thunderous aural drones that sound like sludgy sirens, compressed and magnified in voluminosity. At first, that motif sticks to subliminal suggestion. But somewhere around the two thirds act, it rears its domineering head, thus taking over the track … in a good, welcomed way.

I hear Hidden Empire tends to stick to the melodic techno and house, not these darker, more ominous shades. But a quick sampling of those shelves reveals a more sophisticated mindset. It’s ever-so slightly euphoric, never quite peaking in that well-worn familiar way, instead stripped all the way down, sticking to minimal cycles, super-hypnotic and highly listenable, as well as modestly locomotive. It’s definitely softer than the driving techno slams that tend to move the dancefloors. Yet it’s still quick, pushing forward with focused determination and deep complexity. Not to mention, it’s got exactly the right rhythm for going all night, if that’s what moves you.

That’s all I got for the evening. I’m hoping to strike a better balance between the work and play, and get back to a consistent upkeep with the posts. Right now, it’s a little tricky. But it’ll come. The good news is I’ve got a mountain of material to choose from – the same one that Hidden Empire’s “Black Beauty” tumbled out of. For now, let’s call that a win … and a night. Enjoy!

“Black Beauty” from the 2018 album “Mind Palace.”