- Two discs of bright and unabashedly fun tech house from the one-of-a-kind French producer.
- In one of his newsletters, Joe Delon described seeing Sweely, AKA William Montana, play live while hanging with Titonton Duvante at Dimensions Festival. After his set, the two debriefed as Duvante joked that he had to rush to the studio to reprogram the bass on all his records. As Delon points out, it was a surprise to hear such praise (and perhaps, panic) from the Ohio lifer. "In my head," he writes, "here was someone who'd seen and done it all, so what more could he learn?" This is the Sweely effect. His music is that rare combination of effortlessness and expertise where MPC-meets-infomercial vocals and Miami Vice synths are arranged with a craftsman touch, over swung drum and deeper-than-deep basslines. It's safe to say, then, that his debut LP Closer Energy will likely send quite a few producers rushing back to their studios.
Montana has released an absolutely bonkers number of 12-inches over the years, with a style of functional yet funky tech house best suited to the EP format. And, wit the exception of the requisite intro and outro, Closer Energy comprises only DJ-friendly tracks. But Montana creates a sense of narrative to justify the extra length.The opening section of the album features the record's highest-energy party tracks before it all gets a bit melancholy on "Techy (la) Sunrise" and "Minilook" (think "Lady Science"). "When You're In Love" closes this broody suite with the album's most pensive chord progression, adding a new level of depth to Montana's acrylic dioramas. He finishes Closer Energy by pulling things back up to speed with two bangers that tip their hats to the soaring serotonin of mid-90s trance.
Aside from just sequencing, Montana's chopped vocals double down on the narrative feel. Half the tracks here aren't really much more than a buttery bassline and an extended vocal cut-up, with synths erupting underneath. This isn't a complaint, but it does make me wonder how much time he spends typing "robot voices" or "break-up monologue" into YouTube. His sampling finesse reaches a new level on highlights "When You're In Love" and "Not Part Of It."
Taken together, these tracks represent the narrative poles of the album's late night love story: "Not Part of It" is a pre-night out break-up, before Montana falls back in love on the dance floor. What also stands out is that these are proper songs. The former is a soulful deep house cut a lá Mood II Swing, while "Not Part of It" is nearly electroclash, with the occasional pads hitting like popping candy over the upbeat on the snares. It's like a tech house version of "Madame Hollywood."
Closer Energy lands on Hamish Cole's Butter Side Up label, which has been cultivating a particularly goofy take on tech house, spiking a usual self-serious template with some welcome sleaziness. (Exhibit A: Youandewan's last outing.) Montana raises the bar even higher with his record, angling for the title of tech house's goofball-in-chief. This is dance music at its brightest, boldest and most fun. You might even catch yourself looking at plane tickets to Croatia when the vocal on "Call Me Tonight" reminds you that "There's nothing better than your first drink."
01. Hello Goodbye
02. Not Part Of It
03. Keep On Rock'n
04. Call Me Tonight
05. Techy (la) Sunrise
06. When You're In Love
08. Security (Get The Fuck Out)
09. Energy Bars
10. Closer Energy