Kreon, Gagnant EP

[Resopal Red]

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For the past two years, producer Markos Spanoudakis, aka Kreon, has forged a distinctive style for himself by melding the beats of house and the sounds of jazz — an experiment in musical alchemy yielding progressively stronger results with each release. His single “Shake n’ Make” was an easy favorite among DJs with a proclivity for good humored house, and made for a warm moment in the rain during Onur Özer and Matthias Kaden’s tag team at the Mutek Picnic Electronique. On “Lookooshere,” a well-received collaboration with his Greek compatriot Lemos, sultry horns drooped across firm house beats to create a laid back, soothing atmosphere. And the “Gagnant EP” on Resopal Red is probably his strongest effort yet.

On this release, jazz and house get along swimmingly yet again. This fusion may not sound entirely original, but Kreon truly pulls it off, making the two genres jive with aplomb. When Italoboyz tried their hand at this on “Bahia Part Swing,” house would take over for a few phrases while the jazz was reduced to a choppy sample, and then jazz would pull ahead for a bit while the house beat fell off. It created effective and amusing tension, but ultimately did little in the way of aligning the two genres and somehow felt like a mash-up. On “Gagnant EP,” jazz pours fully into the framework of house and fits the mold with incredible ease. Hi-hat triplets and snare brushes compliment the steady four-four beat, while grand pianos and reverb-laden strings color the spectrum with classic tones. The production quality is superb and the sampling is entirely seamless, so as not to disrupt the live recording feel.

Across these three tracks we see a dynamic variety of moods. On “Fuente,” eerie pianos twinkle while a menacing reverb-laden drone hovers overhead; it’s easy to imagine Berliners grooving to this one at 7 a.m. “Tromarasou” is the EP’s party track and also the most straight forward, focusing on energetic drums and big band string stabs. Things get taken down half a notch on “Memento, which begins much like the others with fresh drums riding under distantly approaching keyboard stabs. but eventually it all gives way to a moody breakdown: as an awe-inspired string tone slides in a young girl whispers quietly in what I assume to be Greek while a melancholy French horn drifts across the mix. As a newer artist, Kreon’s creative progress is plain to see with each release, especially as he’s already honed in on such a specific style. While “Gagnant EP” is admittedly another step in the same direction, Kreon’s steady improvement signals strong potential as a producer. From now on, when I’m doing my doggy through the house bin at a record shop, I’ll be sure to slow down my stroke in the K section.

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