(l-r) Seth Sher, Heather Gabel
"The combination of electronic instrumentalist Seth Sher and vocalist Heather Gable is producing a wild confluence of synth-pop, techno and a heaping spoonful of '80s industrial music, while not coming across as a sort of revivalist act. It's a fresh sound that's sexy, groovy and maybe just a little bit scary.
When constructing electronic music, the temptation to add another layer, add another loop, and add yet another texture must be great. We say this because we hear it all the time—a swirling, bloated mess of sound without much focus other than a headache-inducing bass drum pounding on each downbeat that just won't let up dominates the genre.
So what's refreshing about HIDE's sound is that we can enjoy what we don't hear just as much as what we do hear. HIDE takes a more minimalist approach in building their songs. It's not as if the songs have just a few tones and simple beats. There's a wide variety of sounds and beats going on, but it's when HIDE drops them in and takes them out that gives the songs a certain elegance.
We're not sure if this is a "less-is-more" approach to making music, or perhaps its a more utilitarian philosophy—asking what does this song really need? Either way, it's an effective approach to making something cool with a powerful emotional impact.
Electronic beats always are going to sound a bit cold and mechanical compared to those performed by people. By its very nature, a beat pumped by a machine is going to lack a little bit of soul. But HIDE uses that element as more of an attribute rather than a detriment, utilizing it as a foundation to build eerie, creepy tunes with gothic overtones.
Over those entrancing beats we hear a mesmerizing array of atmospheric washes fading in and out, providing counter beats. You might not think of macabre sounds and themes to be the center of a dance party—or maybe you are that type—but HIDE's songs have a truly percussive nature that makes them danceable.
Gabel's elongated vocal phrasing adds to the creep factor of the songs; they aren't obviously melodic. This isn't meant as a slight to Gabel's vocal work or skills, as she uses her voice quite effectively and has a pretty good range. The vocals add another layer of eerie atmospherics to the songs. They stand out from a lot of the other tones used, but they never overpower them. And when Sher adds a harmony to Gabel's leads, it creates a haunting sound that can send shivers down the spine."