Thursday, November 8, 2012

Album Review: Isaac Tichauer - Devotion

     French M-F’ing Express. With a lineup featuring such talents as Moon Boots, Perseus, Chris Malincak, Jonas Rathsman, and more, unless you had your ears plugged this past Spring/Summer, you really could not -or at least should not- have missed the distinct sounds coming from this label. The tropical, feel-good Nu Disco and House they were pumping out really set the tone for the sunshine seasons (Their "About Me" page literally says, “french express. cultivating the sound of ‘feel good.’”). We found ourselves infatuated with the slick R&B samples being worked into their tunes, and were even lucky enough to catch a handful the roster at U Street Music Hall throughout the summer. Moonboots, Perseus, Chris Malinchak were pumping out jam after jam with their respective E.P.s and singles, but it’s Isaac Tichauer’s debut album (and the first album to ever be released on French Express) that I think slipped under the radar a little.

     This review is a little late to the (dance) party. But in all honesty I have been enthralled with the with the record since its July release. We were flooded this summer with tropical disco, and later on the Hot Creations-esque Deep House. Somehow this one came in somewhat low key, or perhaps the mood was not quite right for it. Whatever the case, I have had enough to time to marinate on it, and revisiting the record just makes me savor it all the more. Maybe it is the current season. Fall seems moody to me. Themes of change and introspection come to mind, and I think this album captures all of that in its soundscape. Deep and sultry textures that are sometimes a little melancholy, but bring about feelings of longing, lust, and love (both mutual and unrequited). There are not a whole lot of lyrics, but I can not help but think that thematically, the album is a sort of a double entendre for passion devotion to music and a significant other (that may be one and the same...). The music itself is a sort of sonic kaleidoscope. Isaac’s production bends and morphs its way through House, to create what Perseus describes as “...ethereal, metaphysical, futuristic, classic, atmospheric, tribal & tropical house music.” [source]

A few of my particular favorites include:

Track 1 - “You Were Walking” - I enjoyed it’s ominous synth tone and brooding bassline,
as well as the multi-layered rhythm of House andTribal flavors.

Track 4 - “Devotion” - The title track has a moody synth chord progression and pays homage to 90s vocal/piano house. Watch out for the spacey climax.

Track 5 - “Like it Raw” - This one is a playful, yet deep and lusty romp of House music.

Track 6 - “Every Word” - A moody collusion of portentous bass and tropical synth leads.

Track 7 - “Doing What I Got” - Hooks you with it’s familiar R&B sample. Then moves you with its warm and tender sub-bassline and syncopated tropical xylophone (the French Express staple).

Track 9 - “Falling” - There’s a bit of duality going on in this one. On one hand, it is sort of dark, with it is eerie synth leads and vox repetition of “I’m falling.” Yet the bassline would suggest something more... It is not until the the lyric is completed, “ Love,” that we’re able to see the other side. The angst and bliss of Love. Heavy stuff.

Hear them all for yourself below.

Did I mention the entire album is available for free?

  In all, Isaac Tichauer solid album that is sonically and thematically cohesive and can (and should) be enjoyed in a straight up listening session. It’s hard to believe that this was a six month project. It has very wide range of musical elements that are layered nicely throughout, and never busy. I find myself easily lost in its Deep House vibrations all draped in provocative textures. The bonus however, -besides that it is free- is that the tracks are of such quality production that they can each stand alone (have fun disc jockeys). Top to bottom, a fantastic record and affirmation of the production quality and versatility of French Express' Isaac Tichauer.

No comments:

Post a Comment