Sunday, May 1, 2011


This week I reviewed an interesting mix CD by the French artist Agoria (aka Sébastien Devaud) which forms the latest instalment of the Fabric series. What makes the mix interesting is a blend of good technique, but better selection, often mixing several tracks at a time without overloading the music as often happens in drum n bass music, for example. Here as well he is often choosing tracks from well outside the electronic music fields, incorporating elements of jazz, classical and even of guitar-based psychedelia.

As an example, the first track of the mix is actually a blend of the following three tracks, all in less than three minutes and all interesting in their own right. Opening up is Rene Löwe aka Vainqueur’s “Ranges (theme)” which I reviewed last year and likened to Jack Kerouac watching the ocean at Big Sur.

Overlaid over this are the vocals of the Zodiac Free Arts Club a new group on the Permanent Vacation label who often confuse for releasing indie, house and disco records without batting an eyelid. The group themselves are named after the famous berlin venue which was critical for birthing many Krautrock groups, including Tangerine Dream. This track also pays homage to Krautrockers Popol Vuh, though the vocal stylings are also reminiscent of the Beach Boys as well as Popol Vuh.

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, is Ensemble Economique who have released on the Not Not Fun label, amongst others. Despite the bongos and African vibes, “Real thing” is hardly dance floor orientated. The stoner vibes and hazy production of the label and Ensemble Economique is at odds with electronica’s pristine sheen, but nonetheless in the hands of an audiophile like Agoria it works.

And for the whole album in a minute and a half:

Agoria has also just released an album "Impermanence" on his Infiné label which has a couple of interesting tracks on it, even if the whole album is flawed by trying to be “universal” somehow.  One of the standout tracks, for the right and wrong reasons, is “Speechless” which features some amazingly sublime minimal house with a slowly evolving urgency, but is completely ruined by the vocals. Sleazy and cheesy, the dubious eroticism of the lyrics was both written and delivered by none other than Carl Craig who we already saw below has a good sense of humour with the track “Shez Satan” (see April posts). Here, however, he crosses the line of good taste and good humour and the results are just cringe worthy.

“I Wanna take you to Mars Bend you over in a crater and have my way with you
Losing time on the dance floor
ohhh yeah dance for me baby”

However, opening the album is a gentler piano driven track “Kiss my heart” with vocals by the American vocalist Kid A who has a wonderful and completely disorientating voice, sounding somewhere between Björk, Harriet Wheeler of the Sundays and perhaps even Arthur Russell, more so since the track features cello.

“Waiting is half the battle
When you are alone”

Speaking of Arthur Russell, Agoria´s mix also features a remix of his track “Treehouse” from the legendary “World of Echo” album as well as extracts from Sun Ra and Ella Fitzgerald.

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