Citizenn - Human Interface

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  • As Nottingham-born, London-based artist Laurence Blake puts it, his first LP as Citizenn is concerned with the "idea of humanity infusing with technology" and how "the western world's obsession with augmenting our natural abilities... allows us to manifest complex ideas and emotions in an artistic context." That's fairly profound stuff coming from a dance music producer and DJ. Human Interface is hardly a concept album, however. In fact, if Blake hadn’t mentioned them directly, it'd be practically impossible to discern any themes. It's hard to see Blake as a futurist—he's said himself that the music policy of his Glastique nights in London was "basically nothing post '95," and releases like his Trax EP sound like they come from that era. And yet Human Interface finds ways to blend his past interests with new ones. Blake uses tested tricks like scything strings, crisp drums and simple loops on tracks like "Lacefront" and "Down 4 Whatever." His trademarked vocal slices—displayed on last year's "Where Is Love Now?"—are deployed like doomy organ chords on "Oh Bongdage" and transformed into animalistic hoots on "Shutters." But when singer Aisha joins Blake on "Lady" and "Tied," she mostly coos a few words low in the mix. One exception is Py's appearance on the frostbitten "Gone." Along with "Control," both tracks hint at a fresh bass music influence. Blake also spreads his wings for the impressive "You Are," which soars on the sort of starbound synths Carl Craig would love. For an artist with a notable past as a video director, Blake rarely sounds cinematic. It's difficult to see Human Interface as much more than a soundtrack for the dance floor. Which certainly isn't a bad thing: at the end of the day, this is deep house of superior quality, the sound that initially likened Blake to Kerri Chandler and Ralph Lawson. Whether in the future or the past, that sound will always have its place.
  • Tracklist
      01. Human Interface 02. Infatuation 03. Control 04. Shutters 05. Tied feat. Aisha 06. Lacefront 07. Oh Bondage 08. Gone feat. Py 09. Down 4 Whatever 10. You Are 11. Lady feat. Aisha