This gorgeous album by the French composer, producer and, um, DJ, has broadened my musical horizons. It's certainly mellow, chilled in the extreme. The twitching but laid back jaunt "Summer in Paris" and the achingly beautifully sung "He's Gone" are elegant, accessible chill-out. But if I had to describe it in one word I'd go instead for "jazz".
I didn't expect to hear, in an so-called "trip hop" work, the smoothly shifting textures of horns that you might find in a 60's Miles Davis album. The jazz touches enhance R+B and hip-hop numbers like "Love Junkee" and "Espionage", putting this on the particularly sophisticated side of "lounge". Solo flourishes from flute, muted trumpet and electric piano all manage to veer away from cheese. Little instrumental links like "For Aaliyah" play beautifully with looped sound textures. "Bounce" is a fully developed instrumental piece, neatly showing off his flair for jazz texturing and everything-in-right-place production.
October 11, 2004