The Frenchman teeming with 12s checks out the past but respects it rather than obsesses over it. Weighty house tunes know where they came from and where they sit now, Franck Roger starting with a slate of clean rhythms, sizing up the then and now, and finishing by polishing up the deep. The vocal track “Sands of Time” could come from any house era, and parallel to the title, Roger is creating his own timeline remixing the evolution of man diagram (pertinent also, as his last album was called “We Walk to Dance”).
“Gossando,” in the vein of a Mr. Fingers, and the lovely sun/moon-worshipping carnival “Surrounded,” tell of the effortlessly futuristic from a past perspective, leading to the deep and stylish through a familiar hum of chords rotation and phases. “Feel It” looks for a late-night balcony, leaving “Tension” to rotate and sweat like meat on a spit, as “Friday” stammers up a quiet storm clocking both ends of the thermometer. The two downtempo cuts, while from the same cloth, arrest the album’s flow and seem included on the basis of creative license — Roger having been straightforward in his aims, “Back With Your Love” backtracks as an unhurried electro-R&B worm, and “This World Don’t Go Round” tries a hip-hop slouch. While there are times you may think he should push forward more, the best quality comes from the most tried and tested.
File under: Octave One, Mandel Turner, DJ Roy, Olivier Portal
At times kinda kitsch and kinda retro – the very name of the band sounds velvet-crushed and cabaret-bound – but yet hella upfront and pretty damn catchy. With a deep house and oozy electro-funk profile, Guillaume Coutu Dumont and his Sound Effects collaborators catch the sound of the high life that’s been tainted, or play to a fashionista wronged; the title track shows the dark side of the glamour and glitz with immobilized R&B.
Labelled as subversive house music for GCD’s third album, “Morning Gin” is only par for the course in a deep house direction, and “Constellation” is cool if far from an uprising in ice-cube melting, horn-cooing clubbing. Despite these spots of modesty seeming to pass the time before inspiration strikes back, the sun’s double orbit is definitely capable of killing the chit-chat with a grand entrance and wanting to get everyone from dignitaries to socialites moving to the same beat.
“Ten Thousand Feet” brings a certain filtered glamour to the disco, twinkling its way until it’s moonlit. “Discotic Space Capsule” breaks the dress code with an acid-flecked roller telling everyone to jack while striking a pose with its out-there keys. Picking up on the acid theme, “Man, Woman and Soul” sweeps from a low key foundation as Guillaume isn’t as big a show-off as first thought, quietly and craftily goes about broadening the album’s range and shape-shifting the slickness.
File under: Art Department, Daphni, Dave Aju
This would be tarred with the sleazy brush if it wasn’t so cheerily hard to resist and more than just a series of Frisco smut peddles. Dave Aju’s freaky funk has all the traits of a lounge lizard putting his best moves on you. “Ms Reposado” and “Caller #7” slink around the mic stand with flossy showmanship taking the stage, creating back orders on key-tars (falsetto on the latter, naturally) and party flavors made to last all night long.
It does help that tight deep housers compliment the song-and-dances. “All Together Now” is a tour de force, contested by “To Be Free” and its woozy groove cycles and provocative vocal slogans. Though following formula on “Away Away” and “Until Then” (the latter is a little more slo-mo disco, but the rules remain the same), Aju’s drowse with added mind/soul/body freestyling will become top priority for summer nights as he looks after you rather than tries to get into you head (or anywhere else). Starry, but not spangled, continued by the Parliament-ary “You Gotta Know” and Latin-swirled “Brown & Blue.”
Mixing up the Detroit Grand Pubahs recipe without oozing across the R&B intersections and resisting rash dancefloor temptations, if you’re after a free-spirited one-stop party album that knows when to both work and play, Heirlooms is heir to the throne.
File under: Detroit Grand Pubahs, Soul Clap, Nicolas Jaar