- There has always been a sense of humorous devilry in Nicolas Chaix's work. Even the sinister stabs of "Lucifer En Discothèque," his 2011 anthem as I:Cube, were delivered with a sly wink. On his latest release on Versatile after a hiatus from the label, Chaix unveils a new alias, Icola, which emerges from a curious source. The label says Chaix was inspired to produce Diableries after finding a 19th-century French etching. But why dither on the story when there is much to enjoy in Icola's debut.
The A-side has two versions of "Diablerie 1." The first is a bustling house track built around skittering conga-like percussion, spurts of acid and a warm bassline. But the most prominent element is a hushed French vocal—presumably Chaix's own—which revels in its false sense of foreboding. This vocal is all that remains on the subsequent "Free Mix," a Mariana Trench-deep sidestep into beatless acid. Against this enveloping backdrop, Chaix's vocal takes on more a sinister, incantation-like quality. "Diablerie 2" is Chaix at his most freewheeling. Its modulated crust arcs in various levels of intensity over trippy percussion. Bizarrely, the sampled chatter of birds appears near the track's end. It's replaced by the nervous intensity of "Diablerie 3," the swirling closing track in which Chaix yields to his inner devil.
A1 Diablerie 1
A2 Diablerie 1 (Free Mix)
B1 Diablerie 2
B2 Diablerie 3