- Minimal bombs made for maximum dance floor impact.
- The French producer Etienne lists Currently Idle, the first record on his new label, Reductive, as a double pack, not an album. This suggests we should consider it a collection of tracks rather than some definitive artistic statement. Currently Idle succeeds on these terms, offering eight solid tracks for DJing that represent the charms of the new minimal scene. In its itchy, clipped percussion and taste for classic bleeps and pads, Etienne's work is similar to artists like Onur Özer, Binh and Uruguayan new schoolers, which is especially apparent on tracks like "3rd Nuke," "All About" and "Information Society."
Etienne's approach is straightforward compared with other minimalists. For instance, "All About" and "Squall" are the only tracks to deviate from four-on-the-floor patterns, which comes off more simple compared to peers who infuse minimal with syncopated patterns from electro, breakbeat or 2-step. It never feels like Etienne is consciously trying to be clever or groundbreaking. Tracks like "Signé Furax" and "3rd Nuke" may not have a lot of personal flair to distinguish them from other artists, but they achieve a tight, propulsive power that maximises the effectiveness of familiar drum and synth sounds.
The release is at its best when striking the balance between elegant restraint and memorable melodies, as on "Information Society." The acid bass belches seem to ricochet off his bouncy drums, adding a magnetic pull that also tugs at the body. The pads sailing overhead bring a musical element that commands attention. "The Doubtful Guest" sticks out thanks to its metallic scrabbling and bushy-tailed bass sequence, which works in tandem with a squealing synth lead. Here, Etienne uses his knack for tight, clean rhythms as a foundation for melodies that set the mood and get stuck in your head.
Currently Idle's strength lies in Etienne's unassuming approach. There's a sophistication in properly executing house and techno's fundamentals—drums, bass, tonal sequences—so that it feels physical and visceral. Etienne's style isn't flashy, and he doesn't try to impress his personality on every track. Currently Idle shows he's only concerned with what really matters when making tracks for DJs, and that's a serious and modest approach to crafting dance floor bombs.
01. Signé Furax
02. All About
03. 3rd Nuke
04. Forget Me Not
06. The Doubtful Guest
07. Information Society