Recloose, Perfect Timing

[Sonar Kollektiv]


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Matthew Chicoine, aka Recloose, would be hard enough to pin down even if he hadn’t recently upped sticks and moved to a beautiful coastal hamlet in New Zealand. His famed “demo-on-rye” entry into the world of dance music certainly would have put him on the map even if he made average, interchangeable music. I say hard to pin down not because his music lacks style, but rather Chicoine has the confidence to explore, seemingly guided by an “anything goes, so long as it goes” mantra. Indeed, many Recloose records project the kind of confidence that comes from an almost self-conscious sense of style; I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicoine is the kind of man who wears a hat [He’s right -Ed]. This confidence has lead to moments of genius and missteps both, but you get the feeling that the genius (like the recent “Maui’s Lament”) couldn’t come without the occasional missed mark.

His latest album, Perfect Timing is definitely representative of this good-with-the-bad aspect of Chicoine’s music, but, like almost everything he touches, it is well worth putting up with a few moments played too fast and loose. The lovely-voiced, probably lovely-personalitied Rachel Fraser is the guest vocalist who bookends the album. Her smooth, coffee flavored voice is the perfect antidote to the adventures in down-tempo, funked-out beats elsewhere. “Catch a Leaf” is the perfectly gauged, insistent album opener with a jaunty modern R&B feel. “Solomon’s Alive” features scat singing by Marcelo Pretto and what sounds like an African childrens’ choir, as well as a range of collaborative musicians making terrific jazzy, bluesy, funk.

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The biggest group effort, though, is “Deeper Waters” which credits nine other musicians including “Fat Freddy’s Drop” vocalist Joe Dukie. “Deeper Waters” is chilled and a little blissed up; it’s dribbling current of soul funk makes it the album’s standout track. “Robop” is more purely electronic, although, like much else here, it clearly owes a debt to old soul records. Something about the way all the jive of soul records is transmitted in squiggly synth lines points to the brilliance on display here, and the same holds true for “Can It Be.” Indeed, everything from 80’s panache to dreamy techno obfuscation runs through the veins of Perfect Timing, all stamped with Chicoine’s distinctive artistic voice.

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However, a few tracks don’t quite do it for me: “Emotional Funk,” for instance, is a touch too strung out for its own good, and winds up slightly grating on the ears. But there’s not too much point in quibbling with such a singularly individualistic effort as this album. There is so much warmth, life and personality in the whole of this CD that it demands to be heard out loud, with friends, late. It’s just the thing to get me out of my Sennheisers and wiggling around the room to the sound of my crappy speakers. And that’s definitely a sign of something worth hanging on to.

cubikmusik  on November 11, 2008 at 1:40 AM

hi, files not working.
love recloose. such great stuff.
cheers.
c

littlewhiteearbuds  on November 11, 2008 at 6:26 AM

All fixed, thanks for the head’s up.

eric cloutier  on November 11, 2008 at 7:33 AM

such a far cry from the days of “so this is the dining room” and “spelunking,” but mr. chiccoine is still fantastic nonetheless.

Limbic  on November 11, 2008 at 9:32 AM

veeery funky stuff from recloose!
good for chillin up on evening 😉
peace

Sam  on November 11, 2008 at 2:30 PM

The first track – haven’t we heard stuff like this over and over again for the past 10 – 15 years? A pleasant enough track, but doesn’t do much for me – neo\retro\downtempo soul whatever-you-want-to-call-it – just boring. Even Giles Peterson must be getting a little bit tired of this sort of thing by now…

Track two – much better! This is the sort of thing I’ve always liked Mr. Recloose for. It’s a little bit *too* much of what you’d expect, in a way (and I know for a fact that that percussion sample loop is a stock ACID Pro file – for shame!), but it delivers the goods.

Anyway – it must be pretty mellow living down-under on those kiwi shores – might be worth a trip up north to get a little bit of the edge back?

tom/pipecock  on November 12, 2008 at 7:49 PM

“The first track – haven’t we heard stuff like this over and over again for the past 10 – 15 years? A pleasant enough track, but doesn’t do much for me – neo\retro\downtempo soul whatever-you-want-to-call-it – just boring. Even Giles Peterson must be getting a little bit tired of this sort of thing by now…”

good music is never boring for me. Recloose is one of those artists that hasnt made a track i dont love, this album like his previous two is the shit!!!

J L  on November 13, 2008 at 1:49 PM

I agree with pipecock, but this one is even better that “hiatus”. As if he’s perfecting his “future organic soul/funk” each time he delivers an album.
Go Matt!

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