Fort Romeau, SW9

[Spectral Sound]

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The undercurrent of melancholy that rippled throughout Fort Romeau’s debut album, Kingdoms, exerts a familiar subterranean pull on his SW9 EP. 100% Silk was well suited for the Londoner’s first release, a mix of stately emotion and disco heat in a glossier style than the label is known for. Surrounded by studied naïveté, his production style stood out like crenellated European architecture transplanted to LA, sagging handsomely under the smog. Ghostly International’s dance floor-oriented offshoot Spectral Sound delivers this new EP, pairing a track that’s been floating around since the release of Kingdoms with a dub version and a Lowtec remix.

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“SW9” is a kind of exercise in style, although its perky-sad chopped vocals and jouncing UK garage drums sound as natural in Mike Norris’s hands as rolling disco-house. The billowy, pinkish synth chords familiar from “Say Something” are present, emphasizing how much of Fort Romeau’s appeal comes down to his unusual talent for using typically awkward pitch bends to convey an emotionally freighted, romantic anxiety. “Love (Dub)” homes in on this vibe, ditching the vocals and tweaking everything else until it feels like there’s no particular goal in mind, fusion-esque keyboards loafing pleasantly off center. This time in the ether makes Lowtec’s remix sound incredibly focused, even though it nearly equals the length of the two preceding tracks. Congealing around somewhat shrill, modem-like tones, it makes willful, almost manic use of the source material. He doesn’’t exactly flip the script, just strips away some of the original’s fat. That excess is an intrinsic part of Fort Romeau’s appeal, so he does so with necessarily mixed results. What he adds to the mix is fascinating, though: labyrinthine tom breakdowns that exaggerate the textured prettiness by setting it against pure alien funk.

addrift  on March 31, 2013 at 3:04 PM

awesome tune

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