HI VIZ is The Presets’ party album; a hedonistic cocktail of rave nuggets, cyber croons and pub techno, seamlessly mixed across 53 minutes. The vivid LP visuals (by longtime collaborator Jonathan Zawada) and the none-too-subtle title are both clear statements of intent; The Presets are up for it.
It’s been a decade since the duo – Julian Hamilton & Kim Moyes – first set festival fields alight with breakthrough anthems like “My People”, “Talk Like That” and “This Boys In Love”. The pair had been making waves in Sydney’s clubs since forming in 2003 and signing to the influential Modular Records, but it was their 2008 Oz chart topper, Apocalypso, that first introduced them to wider audiences. That album was certified triple platinum and won six ARIA Awards in their homeland. By contrast, 2012’s critically acclaimed Pacifica was comparatively introspective but epic gigs around the world – from the Glastonbury Festival and Coachella to Splendour In The Grass – forged the duo’s reputation as Australian electronic music trailblazers. HI VIZ sits firmly in this tradition – a “back to basics” set, deliberately curated as a proxy for The Presets’ live experience.
“We wanted to make something that was literally meant to get you out of your head”, explains Julian Hamilton. “All the songs on HI VIZ are outward looking so in that respect it’s much more like our earlier stuff. It’s about trying to capture that energy you get on a great night out with your friends when you get to leave everything else behind you for a while. We essentially tried to create the soundtrack to a party that we would want to go nuts at.”
“It’s taken us ages to make this album because we just kept writing and recording more and more songs”, reflects Kim Moyes. “At one point we had about 50 contenders and, like us, they were all over the map mood wise. Eventually we decided – fuck it – let’s just pick the most ‘up for it’ songs. Those tracks are always the most fun for us to play live anyway so we thought “why not have a whole album of them?”.
HI VIZ has already been teased with two songs that give a sense of its scope. The urgent “Do What You Want” dropped late last year and featured in Triple J’s Hottest 100 songs of 2017. The sweeping “14U+14ME” is among the tastemaker station’s most played songs of 2018. Most of the album was mixed by John Haneswho created the classic mix of “Uptown Funk” as well as working more recently with the likes of Sia, Bruno Mars and Major Lazer. Apocalypsocollaborator Scott Horscroft also mixed several HI VIZ tracks while Flume engineer Eric J mixed “Beethoven” – the pair’s sly nod to their Conservatorium years.