Review : Para One - Passion
BBCJean-Baptiste de Laubier’s second album as Para One presents an array of ebullient electronica, superbly suited to those few days in the British summertime when the sun cracks cloud cover to scorch tan-lines into the ill-prepared.
Passion frequently belies its maker’s hip hop background – he was a producer for Parisian rap crew TTC – but not before it sets its stall out in rather incongruous style. Opener Ice Cold is an ominous drone comparable to Lorn’s more underworld-ly emissions, or Vangelis with a particularly pounding hangover. The following Wake Me Up skips with a skittering gait, like SBTRKT with the jitters. The two pieces couldn’t be much more different – and they set a tone for the variety to follow.
But while Passion flits between pigeonholes, it never compromises a key coherency – and even when guest vocalists come to the fore, they’re never spot-lit in such a manner as to place de Laubier in the shadows....full text
Stoney RoadsPassion’s stand out single is “Every Little Thing” featuring Sound Pellegrino founder Teki Latex as well as a stunning vocal by Breakbot collaborator Irfane. The entire song benefits from a healthy dose of quirk and down-right likability. The hook goes “I didn’t want to come across as a lonely man when I told you that I loved you on our first date” It’s sweet, down to earth, and very listenable. A continuation of the sound witnessed in Para One and Teki Latex’s remix of Canblaster‘s “Clockworks” the song stands out as a commercially viable and credible single. The garage/uk influenced “Lean On Me” once again features long time collaborator Teki Latex, and while continuing in a similar vein it’s a great pop record. It’s clear that Para One has been keeping an eye on the recent resurgence of garage, and has reinterpreted it in a distinctly French fashion.
Surprisingly the album very rarely features a four to the floor groove and is much more indebted to the offkilter kick drums of classic electro and hip-hop. In fact, the only track to feature a steady thump on the and 1 and 3 is “When the Night” featuring a vocal from Claude Von Stroke associate Jaw. ...full text
Magnetic MagPassion, Paris-based Para One’s third full-length album, is an aptly titled work of strange and sublime pop music. Released June 18th on his own Marble Music (cofounded with Bobmo and Surkin ), the 12-song EP plays across and in between genres effortlessly, leaping gleefully from hip-hop to IDM, from grimy warehouses at dawn to moody, epic soundscapes.
Those hoping for pummeling club hits akin to Para One’s earlier work (2006’s “Dundun-Dun” set a new standard for modern electro-house) may be dismayed. Passion is perhaps digging more deeply into the producer’s hip-hop roots, while simultaneously looking farther into a strange and beautiful future where smart, weird pop music actually makes people fall in love.
Highlights include the dark, ambient opening track, “Ice Cold.” While ringing in at under two minutes, the mournful chords create a space for the album to exist that is somehow separate from the mundane and everyday. Flowing onward, “Every Little Thing” (featuring Irfane and longtime collaborator Teki Latex) is an exceptionally magical piece of music; a tender, bold, sweet, hopeful pop song. The lead single, “Lean on Me,” continues in this theme, only to be interrupted with the dark switchback of “Sigmund,” textured, ferocious, classic electro. The album skates from low-rider grooves (“Love Ave”) to twisted funk (“When the Night”) and closes with some lush, sample heavy, divine night driving music (“Empire”)....full text
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