Pépé Bradock, Swimsuit Issue 1789

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Art by Eli Horn

[Atavisme]


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Pépé Bradock’s catalog falls into a few different modes. There’s elegant deep house (the famous “Deep Burnt,” the achingly beautiful “6 Million Pintades” EP, most recently “Mandragore”), hip-hop and electro-inflected grooves (several tracks from his early “Un Pepe En Or” EPs), and eccentric experiments (the fucked up “Rhapsody in Pain”). Though Bradock seems to have left overt hip-hop behind while maintaining the influence in subtler ways, deep house and experimental electronica are in full effect on his excellent new 12″, Swimsuit Issue 1789.

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“Path of Most Resistance” starts out with a beat reminiscent of Lil Louis’ classic “Video Clash” before piano chords and Bradock’s trademark vocal cut-ups appear. The stomping rhythm blends synergistically with these poignant harmonies, while delicate melodic insinuations emerge; occasional reductions to just percussion are nearly shocking. “CU @ Minna & Lafayette,” though not quite as stunning, mines the same territory with remarkable results. The addictive bass line and jazzy chord progression here are amended with fluttering synths and string samples, filtered until their approach has visceral effects. Bradock’s methods have been refined over the years to a masterful, unified style, a synthesis of programming and sampling, achieving an idiosyncratic yet widely appealing result. Though the stuttering, collage aspect of his work can often make his tracks bear a similarity to micro-house, Bradock maintains a humanist impulse more in line with hip-hop producers like the late J Dilla.

“Unapologetic Weightlessness” closes out the record with an example of Bradock’s, well, unapologetic insistence on avant-garde experimentation. The track is a loping, beatless synth workout that seems drawn from the most outré jazz fusion. It’s unlikely to be on regular rotation at your local club, but it might blow some heads if used carefully. In a way, it is most representative of Bradock’s artistic mission: an uncompromisingly postmodern, plugged-in revision of soul music, equally representative of sonic traditions as it is of its creator’s passionate, slightly twisted genius.

Peder  on July 30, 2009 at 11:19 AM

nice reviews today. have found monsieur bradock quite disappointing recently, especially as i am such a massive fan of his older output (as you know well shuja!), but this seems to be a bit of a return to form. “path of most resistance” almost sounds a bit like todd edwards…

Sam  on July 30, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Nice-ish track!

“CU @ Minna & Lafayette” – he must mean in San Francisco, right?

Le K  on July 30, 2009 at 12:15 PM

absolutely killer ep. Pepe Bradock has got his own universe, between dance music and old traditionnal french avant garde music (pierre schaeffer, Pierre henry, grm,…), it’s a pleasure to listen this new ep.

Slipdress  on July 30, 2009 at 4:36 PM

Nice-ish? This is beautful! Im quite new to Pepe so cant compare, but totally in love with this. thanks

lee burridge deserves to do a fabric cd  on July 31, 2009 at 5:17 AM

i find this pretty bland
never been a massive fan of bradock tho

barry  on July 31, 2009 at 6:26 AM

pepes back, path of most resistance is too good.

that atavism panah-unicorn split with jackson from a few years back is still one of my favourite, more dark house records. have got back to ‘lara’ off a old jef k compilation a i picked up years ago, great little track.

jonnyp  on August 1, 2009 at 6:02 AM

that track is fantastic. all new to me so thanks lwe.

Greg Swindle  on August 1, 2009 at 10:18 AM

This is in the mail; looking forward to giving it my undivided attention.

Sam  on August 2, 2009 at 12:08 AM

Slipdress: Yeah – Nice-ish. Liked his older stuff much more I’m afraid. This track is good (ish), just doesn’t excite me all that much…

tibal  on August 3, 2009 at 1:51 PM

I love it so much! Pepe is simply unique!

Bootsy Colin  on September 28, 2009 at 6:01 PM

path of most resistance grows and grows on me – up there so far for tune of the year in my book.

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