- Ventoux takes its name from a mountain in southern France, well-known for the intense climb it gives cyclists each Tour De France. Nicknamed "The Beast of Provence," the legendary route is where Yorkshire native James Welsh, AKA Kamera, attempted to break a cycling world record with four others. As he puts it, "A lot of time was spent alone, in pain, in extreme heat, in the dark, with wild animals, etc. I had a lot of time to think about how I wanted this record to sound." Though it might not be a typical inspiration for electronic music (you know, aside from one instance), the conceit feeds Welsh's high-gloss techno some burly force. "Consignia" bursts out the gate with momentum of a downhill race; the sharp, skipping hi-hats in "Ventoux" and "MF15" set a mean pace for endurance riding. But for all that forward thrust, Welsh is at his best when handling the music's unexpected curves.
Setting the bike metaphors aside, Ventoux does great work with tightly wound rhythms, gnarled acid tones and traces of bright synth melody. (The title track is especially deft with its ricocheting chords and dizzy, high-octave lead.) The sound makes Welsh a perfect fit among Phantasy Sound's ranks, alongside the likes of Daniel Avery and Ghost Culture. But you could argue it's too perfect: the growling bass of "MF15" and "Consignia"'s frantic pulse echo a few of Drone Logic's heaviest tunes. "Ventoux" and beatless, cosmic closer "Voodoo Canapé"—the two most melodically interesting tracks here—point to more distinctive ideas, however, and will hopefully set Welsh on his own path.
B2 Voodoo Canapé