Album Review: Quenum - Face to Face

face to face

Wed, December 18, 2013  

Quenum releases debut album Face to Face

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With more than three decades behind the decks and 20+ single releases, Philippe Quenum presents his debut album: a deep and rhythmically complex journey.

There are a couple of short tracks on the album. First up is 5AM, perfect for an early morning “open-and-close-the-window-shutters” moment in a club. Its beautiful melody and jazzy groove form a perfect soundtrack to bath the dance floor in the first sunrays. My People sounds like a deep sea journey with aquatic sounds, a growling bass line and scuba hiss. The third short track Ritual is a foray into abstract rhythmic structures with sharp melodic pinches penetrating from the murky depths.

Never Loose Your Soul is a slow burner. The track brims with subtle sounds and abundant percussion. While riding a cool bass line the track meanders slowly to a beautiful breakdown. The title track should spur up the dance floor energy into a frenzy. A crackling beat, feverish melodic details and a soulful vocal loop add up to a mesmerizing trip with carefully placed piano keys for extra momentum. Escales takes proceedings into more subtle territory. A clicking beat pattern and haunting sounds encased in a lush melody slowly lure you into a feverish dream.

The second part of the album sounds like a psychedelic trip. Children of the Sun hypnotises with Eastern desert-like tone scales and an infectious groove. Picture people getting lost into sound in dusty, sun-drenched scenery!

The narrative fires up even further with Roots, a spellbinding jam which merges an offbeat rhythm, roaring bass line and full blown orchestral strings. And Basic Solution is head spinning, kooky track. Perfect for a far out peak time moment! After the psychedelic madness, the last two tracks are a soothing cool down. Introvert is string laden epic taking inspiration from Carl Craig or Laurent Garnier. The album's swan song Father and Son veers into ambient spheres. It’s softly clicking rhythm leaves ample room for spooky stabs and lavish strings.

Face to Face is a wonderfully weird trip. The tracks showcase an amazing eye for detail and some gorgeous melodies. It's a well-balanced combination of beauty and outright psychedelica!

8/10 - by Patrice Knap