Seuil, Double Jack Ice E.P.

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In minimal and deep house, one of the biggest challenges the artist face is knowing how much embellishment is appropriate. It is the music’s lean, uncluttered sound that lures many listeners away from prog, trance and nu-rave, but it’s near impossible to make an interesting track without at least a hint of color. French producer Seuil struggles with this. Drums are his strong suit (most of his tracks are worthwhile for their tight and heavy rhythms alone), but when it comes to hooks, he’s all thumbs. While some releases are just a little too dry (like the curiously titled Deep Hooks EP), others suffer from awkward attempts at charisma, like the cheesy montage of civil rights era speeches in “Trapped House,” an otherwise exceptional track. Double Jack Ice EP finds Seuil still trying to find his balance between restraint and indulgence. But despite one wobbly moment, it seems he’s got it pretty much worked out.

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To my ears, the best cuts of Double Jack Ice EP are on the B-side. “Ain’t Sleep” is Seuil at his best: the beat is brisk, heavy and intricate, complimented by sounds of distant birds and insects. “So Blonde” follows in the same vein, mixing elliptical deep house chords with the kind of organic trim Hello? Repeat artists are so fond of. Both have the same sunny vibe that makes his recent Ibiza Voice podcast such a treat. But back on the A-side, “Dipsie” suffers from the same flaw as “Trapped House.” Most of the track is top notch — the beat has a great sense of urgency and is surrounded by an incredibly vivid array of sounds that could be some of Seuil’s best studio work to date. The trouble comes at end of the break down, seconds before the bass kicks in, when a voice (that I’m almost certain is Denzel Washington’s) says: “Brace yourselves; I think we’re about to witness a murder.” It’s a relatively minor detail but it sounds very out of context, and makes the ensuing romp feel a bit silly. Other listeners might not mind it at all, but for whatever reason this brief moment really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Nonetheless, the rest of the track is perfectly bad ass, as is the rest of the EP, and such a small blemish shouldn’t stop anyone from checking it out.

eric cloutier  on February 18, 2009 at 7:12 AM

god damn this shit is GOOD.

minibar has always been one of the most consistently good labels that i’ve discovered, and seuil is an amazing producer, so its to no surprise that he, again, has an amazing ep on this label.

the long side of this ep is absolute bliss.

chris  on February 18, 2009 at 12:06 PM

the “minor detail” about using a very out of context sample displays everything: this is totally inspiration-free music. it just copies what most of the producers do nowadays (which is no better)
this music bores me to death…

eric cloutier  on February 18, 2009 at 3:53 PM

how’s that for two wildly different opinions of the same ep? hahah.

Will Lynch  on February 18, 2009 at 6:23 PM

@ Chris: overall i think its a pretty good EP, but as my review would suggest, I can see where you’re coming from. It seems to me like Seuil is really good at designing rhythms, but not very good at giving his tracks personality, so they are either too dry or kind of cheesy. i definitely would not say he’s “inspiration free”– I think his tracks reflect exceptional talent in some form, even if it’s coupled with an element of tastelessness. Also, his the Ibiza Voice podcast I mention in the review is really great stuff. Check it out here: http://www.ibiza-voice.com/music/podcast/Seuil

chris  on February 19, 2009 at 4:21 AM

…ok, ok, that was a bit harsh :-)

you are right, seuil has definitely some talent in designing rhythms (but still the combination of talent with an element of tastlessness seems very odd to me)

but i wonder, why almost everyone nowadays uses snippets of voices as rhythmical elements. that’s ok sometimes, but at the moment EVERYONE does it ALL THE TIME. could someone please tell them to stop that!

eric cloutier  on February 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM

everyone’s using chord stabs and calling themselves deep house producers now, too…

six in one / half dozen the other.

Josie K  on February 20, 2009 at 2:31 AM

It’s typical afterhour sound. Skillfully produced, but not very memorable.
I’d say it’s a perfect filler that doesn’t hurt and it’s not trying to be more than that.

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