After a brief sonic love affair with the midwestern US (see Cloud Nothings and The Pines), I’m coming back to Europe for my album of the week. I’m reaching into Spain specifically, and for very good reason.
That very good reason is producer/electronic musician John Talabot’s debut album ƒin. It’s what I would consider to be the first great electronic album of 2012 and it definitely merits at least one full listen, even if Euro-house isn’t really your scene.
The album opens up to a pulsing beat that steadily increases in volume over what sounds like a background of active rainforest creatures in the dead of night. As more tribal beats, keys, and synthy “aahs” are added on, the first track “Deepak Ine” generates a vibrant but chill atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Destiny,” a contagious, danceable track with one of the best hooks on the album follows, with the handclaps-and-shrieks-laden “Oro y Sangre” not far behind.
ƒin is an album that is both top- and bottom-heavy, although that’s not to say that the middle is boring by any stretch. Talabot is phenomenal at managing the flow of each track’s intensity, and like any good producer, knows exactly when to dial it up and when to reign it in. This is especially apparent both in “Destiny” and “Last Land”, which plays like a marionette whose strings are expertly manipulated by Talabot’s uncanny sense of timing and dynamics.
If “Last Land” is an exercise in good timing, then album closer “So Will Be Now…” is just hella catchy. For all the repetitive background vocals, Talabot throws in plenty of bouncy rhythms and finger snaps to keep it interesting. And really, although there are a few long tracks on ƒin, none of them are ever tiring at all. In fact, most tracks do an excellent job of keeping a consistent flow with consistent elements, while still changing up the mix for flavor. I imagine the ability to do this well is a trademark of all successful house or club music, but then I’m certainly no expert in this realm.
All I know is that ƒin makes me happy; it’s spunky afternoon music that will put you in a good mood (and a trance, if you’re not careful). Give it a listen this week and don’t be surprised if it ends up on several “Best of 2012” lists.
(1) “Depak Ine”
(2) “Destiny” feat. Pional
(4) “Oro y Sangre”
(9) “When The Past Was Present”
(11) “So Will Be Now…” feat. Pional