Benny Benassi — Hypnotica. A brief history of the album

George Palladev 1.05.2023

Benny Benassi — Hypnotica. A brief history of the album

At the end of the spring of 2003, the landmark album of the Benassi brothers Hypnotica was released. It was landmark for three reasons. Firstly, since then we’ve experienced the massive presence of buzzing, humming and whirring in popular electronic music. Secondly, it became permissible to record an entire album from these sounds. Thirdly, it became possible to successfully sell such an album and receive several gold and platinum discs as a reward. That means that the fact that for 20 years the music has been sounding like God knows what isn’t the fault of Skrillex, but of Marco and Alessandro Benassi from an Italian province. It was them who came up with this set of absolutely amelodic sounds and used them for an hour-long electro house ruckus. An unprepared listener will get tired in the second minute—the density of the sfaction sound is over the top. “But our album is unmistakable!” said Benny Benassi with a smile.

Such a trick can be only pulled off once—when your new gimmick turned out to be a success. And while everyone is coming to their senses, as a bright debutant with all the attention on you, you can raise the stakes and take the bank, which people happily accept thanks to the freshness of the sound. Hypnotica celebrates disobedience. This was a sweet moment of victory for Marco Benassi, who had secretly adored electro since the mid-80s but only now, at the peak of his fame, could afford to record an electro album that everyone who liked Satisfaction would buy, and in 2003 it was everywhere and found many fans. And everyone who wanted it to continue got what they wanted. Hypnotica is nothing but an hour-long version of Satisfaction. For this, Hypnotica was praised. And for this it was also criticised. Only small deviations, such as the slow Let it be or the broken I’m sorry brought some change to this overpowering realm of the heavy bass drum and dirty bass.

According to Benassi, their debut album was just a variation of the first track Satisfaction. And the further away they got from it, the more it varied (Listen to Change style). A lot of material was recorded before the success of the main single, but a lot was re-recorded after it went into the charts. For example, the bonus tracks I love my sex and Don’t touch too much with the human voices of Paul French and Violetta (on the remaining 12 of the 14 tracks, the text is read by a real robot) were reworked and reissued after the hype of Satisfaction.

The album cover continued the mood of the little-seen first version of the Satisfaction video with its graphic mess (the version with girls in the construction market that became popular was filmed for the UK). The eccentric quartet of bespectacled people, Marco, Alessandro, Paul French and Violeta (the last two are The Biz, who performed the brothers’ tracks all over the world) appear, according to the artist’s idea, to be something between a parody of Kraftwerk and the characters of Star Trek. “Mr. Spock meets the idiots on board,” Benny laughed.