- Getting a slot on a Sasha mix is a mixed blessing. It's kind of like getting your novel on Oprah's book club—on the one hand, you get mainstream listeners you never had before, but on the other, you and your music can rapidly get pigeonholed as bland or obvious, causing the die-hard heads to turn on you as eagerly as they turned on your music in the first place.
Rone's drunken NeoTokyo wonderland "Flesh" got the honor of a spot alongside M83 and Apparat on last year's Invol2ver, and his excellent "Bora" showed up on disc 2 of Agoria's tasty 2007 At the Controls mix, but lest you think that progressive pop chillaxation is all he's capable of, strap on your proton pack and bookmark your Michelin guide. Rone, AKA Parisian DJ/producer Erwan Castex, is about to take you on a haunted dining tour with a distinctly French touch.
First course: the title track opener is a luminescent mid-tempo lope that's heavy on clacky percussion and atmospherics. After that, it's "Belleville," a confection of treated xylophone and Casio beats. Midway through, a waterfall of crystal synths come in. It's an intimate, neon-delicate affair, markedly different from the speeding, blue-lit sound of ""Flesh."
From there, we veer into slightly more familiar urban territory in the second course, but with a sinister twist. "Aya Ama" and "Poisson Pilote" are slightly askew cavescapes of bass fudge and rubbery percussion. Not bad, but hampered—as is Bora (Vocal)—by Gallic radio-static vox sampling.
Third-course highlight "Tasty City" might be the darkest track on the record, with angry skies of screaming cello broken by a contrail of haunting piano. Like Ellen Allien creating a lifeless Berlin on Sool, Rone has composed the soundtrack to a dead Paris after the rise of the machines—just rubble and meaty break beats, illuminated only by chemical fires and the searchlights on hovering drone ships.
Dessert treat "La Dame Blanche" is an ode to haunted White Ladies of both the spectral and pharmaceutical varieties—it's a driving orchestral dance thriller drizzled with sharp wah-wah guitar and ectoplasmic saxophones. Could have totally used a Vincent Price sample though.
Taken as a whole, the album could be viewed as a full day's cuisine—waking to a spicy breakfast of starry-eyed house, having a desolate lunch on the smoldering ruins of the Left Bank before dancing the night away with the ghosts of industrial and trance. Not all the entrees are savory—I'd avoid the fish—but overall the tasting menu that Rone has served up is stark, cinematic and filling.
02. Spanish Breakfast
04. Aya Ama
05. Interlude in the Bed
06. Poisson Pilote
07. Bora Vocal
08. Tasty City
09. La Dame Blanche