Seuil, Moonapark EP

[New Kanada]


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For artists who have built their name on a certain aesthetic, a stylistic left turn can be as rewarding as it is risky. Because while familiar, oft-repeated patterns are good for maintaining the interest of dedicated fans, they present few opportunities for artists to reach new audiences, especially those who have written them off. Parisian producer Alexis Benard, known by the world as Seuil, has since 2006 been cultivating his fan base with a steady stream of minimal, somewhat utilitarian house tracks for labels such as Moon Harbour Recordings, Eklo, and Raum… Musik, among others. So when his Moonapark EP for New Kanada reached my ears I found myself checking the credits repeatedly, uncertain I was listening to the same producer. The small but noticeable current of nuance running through his past releases — particularly in the granular textures of his synth tones — had flourished into bold attempts at tackling new genres and complex melodic development.

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“Nine Clouds” finds Benard mining the rich seams between dubstep and house often associated with A Made Up Sound and Ramadanman, but especially calls to mind Martyn’s mid-tempo material from his Great Lengths album. The dub washes and latticework beats read as dubstep but its backbeat hi-hat flirts with house, an association that grows stronger if still flexible when he introduces more swinging percussion and organ riffs that swell and release with deliberate gusto. Nearly as striking and more recognizably house, “Blank Love” contrasts dissonant drones with reverberating progressions, gray chord stabs, and snarling bass runs, brooding like two friends pulled away from each other after a punch up. The old school rhythm patterns of “Lonely Place” clatter along the contours of stately pads and gently modulating progressions in a way that recalls Detroit techno but through the eyes of a contemporary artist like Kassem Mosse. Although Benard took a sizable leap outside his comfort zone Moonapark EP feels confident and sounds excellent — a slice of top notch material most producers would love to have in their discographies. If this burst of oeuvre-defying inspiration can be sustained he may have all new audiences saying his name with reverence.

teshno  on October 20, 2010 at 9:12 AM

sounds great – alexis told me a while ago he was working on dubstep (one of many things) – but was waiting to nail it before he released anything.. glad anton seems to think he has!

http://uk.soonnight.com/mag/seuil-sonic-chameleon,28,4340.html

Blaktony  on October 20, 2010 at 10:10 AM

I dig this; the chilled atmosphere,the lushness of the whole composition works great together. Nice.

petepete  on October 21, 2010 at 7:26 AM

It was always easy to tell Seuil is a really talented producer. I loved the more minimal stuff he was doing before, but this EP really takes his sound in a new and exciting direction.

Peter Skovgaard Andersen  on October 21, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I’m enjoying this aswell.

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