- Nicholas Chaix AKA I:Cube rose to electronic music fame at the same time groups like Daft Punk, Bob Sinclar, Cassius and Air did during the mid 90’s at a time when French dance music had burst onto the global electronic music scene. 1997 saw the release of i:cube’s debut album, Picnic Attack and in 2000 he followed up with Adore – both albums receiving critical acclaim and carving I:cube a niche for his brand of funk, soul and electro laden house and techno beats. In 2004 I:cube releases 3 – no prizes for figuring out that it’s his third album and he continues the trend shown on previous releases by creating a typically diverse album stamping it with that filtered French sound.
Latin influenced salsa style beats open up the album on Music - it sounds full and rich in texture with its heavy use of percussion including bells, cymbals and a tribal ensemble of drums. I:cube gives the tune a trancey vibe with drawn out synth lines and completes the recipe with a male vocal sample. Oblivion sends the album down a deep house path featuring deep funky bass and four to the floor house beats.
Vacuum Jackers highlights I:cube’s quirky side as a vibraphone and piano sound like they’re in competition with each other as to who gets to play the lead. It’s funny to think that in regards to electronic music, going crazy with sounds is sometimes considered art and music – personally I prefer proper phrasing and melody. I:cube ends it all off with a sample of a vacuum cleaner, hence giving rise to the title. I:cube improves on the DJ Shadow-esque Fabu with its rock style beats, cleverly placed drum fills and classical melodies.
The Trans-Atlantic crossover track Can You Deal With That features the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA (who sounds more like Guru from Gangstarr on this) lending his rugged vocal stylings to I:cube’s take on broken beats – bouncy beats combined with springy snares and jazzy piano loops. It’s been radio playlisted and become an international DJ favourite. East Tribe takes 3 back to the filtered sound the French have been making popular since 96 adding a little funky bass and big drums to the mix laced with lots of electronic stabs and samples throughout. It’s short and sweet and leads into the deep-tech-house of Monotone maintaining a jazzy vibe while still retaining elements of funk and disco.
I:Cube pays homage to the sounds of old-school Detroit techno on Tunnel Vision laying down some sharp stepping beats, melodic arpeggios and sublime synth arrangements before taking things down a notch for the dark tribal sounds on Bubblesphere which itself has a deep aquatic vibe and popping drums while mermaids and sea creatures sing in the background.
I:Cube once again shows off his diversity on 3 with it’s mixture of house, techno and electronic beats. Chaix even moves along with current trends with Can You Deal With That, however being a big fan of the French styles, I found his quirkiness and beats a little too weird and it detracted from the listening pleasure of what could have been a great album. Call me cheesy, but music from artists like Daft Punk, Etienne De Crecy and even Bob Sinclar have kept my ears pricked up and my attention focused on the funky vibes and catchy vocal hooks.
3 Inspector Cube
4 Vacuum Jackers
6 Can You Deal With That?
7 East Tribe
9 La Folle Blanche
10 Tunnel Vision
12 La Vie En Communauté
13 Baby M