Passport - Memoirs & Travels

  • Recorded in an Arkansas cabin, this vocal house album explores sex, spirituality and self-help.
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  • In some alternate universe George Btp, better known by his alias Dan Piu, would be approaching something like a household name. Maybe not quite at the level of a Ricardo or Helena, but he'd be starting to post footage from behind the decks as he returned to the festival circuit for the summer. But in our world, the Swiss producer remains a strictly underground hero. He's been releasing deep and refined techno and house from his Zurich home since 1992. This isn't to say that his stock isn't on the rise. His workaday efforts have begun to pay dividends as labels like Cartulis Music and Childhood Intelligence have reissued old tunes and provided avenues for new collaborations and productions. Now working with newcomer vocalist and producer Roger Versey as Passport, Btp and Versey have released an LP full of campy deep house that walks the thin line between sexy and silly. This feels like a natural extension of Btp's most recent output. He started down this path with last year's EP for the OPIA sub-label Euphoric State, where he churned out some bleepy minimal house. We also heard it in the jazzy hip-hop of Soft Pioneer. But bringing Versey on board cranks the Fun-O-Meter up to 11. The name of the closing track, "Deep Sea Dishes Deluxe (Nasty No Mask Edit)," should be enough to bring a grin to your face as the two make what may be house music's only erotically charged homage to pizza: "In the nastiest way, you are so delicious," Versey deadpans. "You're so nutritious, you always fulfil my wishes and turn me on." The arrangement only brightens the humor with Versey's delivery exploding among bright flashes of second wave Detroit synths. Versey's spoken-word vocals are worth the price of admission alone. He has two modes on the record. There's the New Age self-help guru on tracks like the downtempo burner "Piu'rified Consciousness," where he sings, "Like an organic supplement, you got natural highs." His other mood is one we could call "Twitter bot dirty talk where a random string of vaguely sexual words have been strung together." "The Color Of A Neon Scene Bliss," for example, includes the refrain, "Transcribe vibes through sexy genes. Escape on my word. Yeah baby," where the "yeah baby" is issued with as much erotic conviction as Austin Powers realizing it's no longer the '60s. On the loungey "Jazzual Sex (Now Boarding Flight 808)," he starts with, "Mmm. So wet. I love to suck on your delicious curves." This is definitely raunchy, but it's also kind of goofy—is it even possible to suck on "delicious curves?" There are moments when this over-the-top approach misses. Titling a song "Progressive Sluts Bow 2 The Power Of Drex Sex" feels pretty off the mark and the sheer amount of times we hear about weak knees is exhausting. But even with these slips, the production saves the record. "Eye C The Deep Frequencies Of Life In Acid Major" goes to town with some kitsch organ chords and a flute line alongside a bubbling 303. "Receive This Atlantic Activation With Pure Dedication" is vintage house, while still sounding like it could be piped into a sci-fi tiki bar. And on "A Passport To The Future," the two incorporate some proper '80s motifs: we hear scratching, pinball machine bleeps and a chunky electro bassline. (As Versey reminds us on "Piu'rified Consciousness," "I'm from the age of graffiti wars and electro breaks.") It's ultimately the lightheartedness of the album that makes it a keeper. The record was made in a cabin in rural Arkansas sometime last year, though it wasn't exactly their Bon Iver moment. Instead of pastoral introspection, I get the sense that the two kept the jokes and vintage synth patches flowing, crafting the strangest LP of songs about sex and spirituality that you'll hear all year.
  • Tracklist
      01. Flight Fantasy 02. My Belgian Mistress Always Surrenders 03. Piu'rified Consciousness 04. A Passport To A Future Past 05. Eye C The Deep Frequencies Of Life In Acid Major 06. Progressive Sluts Bow 2 The Power Of Drex Sex 07. Receive This Atlantic Activation With Pure Dedication 08. The Color Of A Neon Scene In Bliss 09. Welcome To Your Terminals... Its Time 10. Jazzual Sex 11. Origamis In Extravagant Space (Eye Seek The Lucid) 12. Deep Sea Dishes Deluxe