Originally posted on Fat Planet 2006.
For many years back in the day, I was a techno head – perhaps not the kind of purist who went seeking for the gaps in my catalogue numbers, but goddam if i didn’t lose pounds pounding the concrete in many raves and clubs. I came to techno through a young affair with Depeche Mode, followed by a long appreciation of the hard industrial electronics of Meat Beat Manifesto, Front 242 and other so-called ‘electronic body music’ artists. So armed with a ‘harder, better, faster, stronger’ mentality, I embraced all that was fast, cold, brutal and unrelenting about early 90s techno. However, as the decade rolled along, it was clear that such a high-end level of engagement with hard techno is hard to sustain, and I started to demand more emotional depth from my machines.
It’s taken Para One‘s Epiphanie to square my circle. Here’s an album that, in hindsight, always dared to be made – an album that fuses the uncompromising energy of hard techno, the knife-edge cool of detroit and all the machine-funk playfulness of Daft Punk and their successors. And lest we forget the involvement of regular para one collaborators TTC, with Cuizinier, Teki Latex and Tido Berman throwing a curveball of eurocrunk into the mix. There’s so much to enjoy here – it looks back over its shoulder to an age where electronic music was finally liberated and yet strides purposefully forward into uncharted territory. It’s both familiar and terrifying at the same time.
27-year old Para One (aka Jean-Baptiste de Laubier) started producing in his early teens, mixtapes and movies led to his work with a slew of french rappers in 2000. It was the meeting with TTC in 2001 that pushed his head above the parapet, producing a track on their Ceci n’est pas nu disque album, featuring Anticon’s Doseone. His solo release Beat Down in 2003 also featured TTC (later re-released on a Team Shadetek 12); all this naturally flowing into heavier production duties on their sophomore release Batards Sensibles. It’s the hands of Para One that grace the now legendary track Dans le Club, a tune that will surely stand the test of time as being one of the highlights of the last few years.
Following such a resume, I had expected Epiphanie to embrace more hip hop and crunk, but instead we’ve been gifted something altogether more special. You might have heard Dudun-dun – the lead single that sign-posted the imminent (if somewhat overdue) full-scale return of acid house; the second half of which is enough to make a thousand old-school ravers weep with joy. Turtle Trouble is its natural successor, sliding in and out of focus in pure detroit style, before hammering the frequencies in the closing stages.
It’s hard to put a wedge between this and The Knife‘s Silent Shout for electronic album of the year, but with 2006 already giving us such an embarrassment of riches, I dare say the next six months will also be full of glorious surprises.
DOWNLOAD MP3: PARA ONE turtle trouble
thanks to jean-reno @ institubes.