- Something happened to Alex Picone's music around 2014. After spending a decade releasing loopy house on labels like Cadenza and Bass Culture, his sound shifted with the release of A Bit on his new Seekers label. While the swinging drums and bouncy bass of his earlier work remained, the atmospheres became more abstract. He followed up in 2016 with Frequency Switch, which took another leap forward with strong but ambiguous moods and ear-catching synthesis. He also released a pair of top-notch 12-inches with Etienne as Eticone and launched the Twig sub-label, diving further into wigged grooves and electro, bleep and early Detroit sounds.
Flirting With Melancholy, the most accomplished work of Picone's career, completes the transformation. The quality of the synth programming has reached a new level—take "Sounds Of A Winter Night"'s delightful combination of tumbling, then rising figures. There's also a pad that drifts about like an apparition. But the track's buoyant mood proves rare, as the rest of the 12-inch falls deeper into paranoia and disquiet. The drums tend to flick and tick rather than slap and slam, which helps foreground the busy details of the synth work. A notable exception is "The Happiness Of Being Sad." A glimmering modular noodle twists atop the pumping drums and bass, while the drifting pad from "Sounds Of A Winter Night" makes a welcome reappearance. It lifts the track as it slides skyward.
The release also comes with a 7-inch, but its tunes aren't throwaways. "Love Intensified By Absence" is as forlorn as it sounds, with yearning, soft-edged chords and minor harmonies. "Everything Seems Simple Until U Think About It" saves the most sprightly groove till last.
A1 Sounds Of A Winter Night
A2 Slowly Sinking
B1 The Happiness Of Being Sad
B2 Pursuite Of Pleasure
C1 Love Intensified By Absence
D1 Everything Seems Simple Until U Think About It