Hypnobeat is the longstanding project of James Dean Brown (aka Romulus Coeurque and Insect Commander). Since its inception in 1983, the project has undergone a number of member and moniker mutations, but in its current form is an improvisational partnership between Brown and Hamburg’s Helena Hauff.
Hypnobeat’s early stated manifesto was to push the boundaries of electronic music by enhancing textural complexity via polyrhythmic structures, overdubs, syncopations, interferences, and fusion noise, ultimately reducing electronics to an emotional, hypnotic, rhythmic core. To realize this ambition, Hypnobeat instrumentalized a wide range of analogue gear, notably the distinctive TR-808 synthesizer and an array of up to six synchronized rhythm machines which incorporated three 808s. Additionally, one of the cheapest available sequencers at the time, the TB-303, provided a proto-acid flavour to their pioneering sound; the sequencer subsequently epitomised the sound of the acid movement.
Hypnobeat first presented its unique breed of techno and classic electro at the GEMINOX festival at Frankfurt University in the summer of 1984. Their only two official releases from the period followed: the double cassette, Huggables, on own label Monochrome Tapes in 1985, and Specials/Spatials a year later.
The project shut down in 1994, but reformed as Narcotic Syntax a year later. The group registered three releases on German minimal label Perlon, Ultravolta (1998), Calculated Extravagent Licentiousness EP (2004), and Reptile Sweat Accelerator EP (2005), and 2006’s Provocative Percussion (Wir).
In 2012, Hypnobeat was resurrected in Paris, marking James Dean Brown's first solo appearance in over 20 years under his former alias. The performance catalyzed a new era for Hypnobeat, this time in collaboration with Hamburg DJ and producer Helena Hauff, whose stage performances are based entirely around improvisation. The pair’s equipment equation works out to 1x TR-707 + 3x TR-808 + 1x TB-303 + an array of effects = provocative percussion, unbridled passion, ritual ecstasy, hypnodelic temptation, psycho-exotic magic, and a quantum of danger under a crypto-bohemian approach, with all-original rhythmic programming.
Two retrospective Hypnobeat vinyl albums are planned for release in 2014 on Serendip (Paris) and Dark Entries (San Francisco), with the Serendip edition to include a bonus 7" EP.