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D'Marc Cantu - Fallen

Creme Organisation

Four years after his debut ‘No Control’ heralded a new sub-label and artist in Créme Jak & Cantu respectively, the Ann Arbor native now provides his and the label’s first LP. Purveyor of ‘jakbeat’ and a cohort of Traxx & James T. Cotton, ‘Fallen’ is an album that from the word go is a primordial assault on the senses. The rolling snares that denote the jacking house sound are resplendent here but it’s underpinned with instrumentation that exudes malevolence & attitude.

This is epitomised in the title track where the bowel bothering sub-bass of the kick drum is continued through into ‘The Power’ creating a no-nonsense dyad of tracks that are seeped in analogue synths. ‘Stand Up’ provides some respite from the sub-bass but with no less drop in momentum where an arpeggiating line vacillates in pitch and tone creating an unsettling but exhilarating atmosphere.

‘Oh My’ and ‘A New Night’ initiate a startling epoch of the record where a sleazy, electroclash-esque undercurrent drives both. Unabashed in their griminess and displaying a scant disregard for convention, the tracks are a conjunction of the electro of Cantu’s native Michigan and the electro of his adopted Holland, the outlet for the majority of his music. ‘I Want To Ride’ brings the urgency down with some subaquatic ambiance before ‘Shoot The Fish’ cranks up the atmosphere to Nefarious levels again with an eerie acid line and a relentless drum track.

‘Say It & It’s Time’ is a lighter piece that brings back another vaguely electoclash arpeggiating synthline but with Cantu it’s no ironic statement and despite being one of the more melodic tracks on the LP, the sense of foreboding doesn’t cease. Closing out the album, ‘Evil Motion’ is a throbbing mass of bass before ‘Fractal’ ends the record on a dexterous and optimistic note, bringing timely relief from the terseness of the previous ten tracks.

With the ‘house revival’ (© the broadsheet press) in full swing, a plethora of artists armed with 707s and some piano tips garnered off youtube are gaining widespread plaudits and record releases and often from usually respectable sources. With Cantu, it’s refreshing to see an artist willing to push the boundaries of what constitutes house music rather than settle for a vacuous facsimile that is as disposable as it is risible. An exhilarating amalgamation of modernity with a classic analogue sound, this an album that feels fully formed in its vision and expertly curated. ‘Fallen’ is an uncompromising and visceral ode to a dystopian world that reminds us of what electronic music is capable of and should aspire towards. A benchmark has been set for 2012 and beyond. 

Paul Fanning  @stanleyknives


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