Jpye`s debut LP, Samba With You, sees the multi-instrumentalist Frenchman stretch out over seven originals – all characterized by his cool fretwork flashes, and sleek, slick, uncluttered production. The clean and extremely polished pieces find Jean-Philippe very effectively playing with, and updating, pop-jazz-funk tropes established in the `80s by iconic bands, such as Sade, and Wham! even – but Blue (Armed With Love) rather than Wake Me Up Before You Go Go. The results are perfect for your beach, or poolside, listening pleasure.
Two of the tracks have been released before. The slo-mo, chugging, half-spoken, half-sung, Cosa Ti Va?, featuring Italian vocalist / percussionist, Renato Tonini, was out as limited 7 in February, while Oui Non was one of the essentials on label sampler, Claremont Editions Volume 2, which hit shops in September of last year. Washed by sampled surf, and buoyed by TB-303 bubbles, this latter tune is a collaboration with singer / songwriter, e11e – her breathless vocals high in the mix. e11e also takes centrestage on on the bilingual boogie of Downside Up World, switching between English and French as she sings of sex as a holiday, and whispers of the escape promised in the arms – and legs – of a lover. On the summery, strummed, title track, e11e`s delivery is a sort of unrequited sigh. Based on this evidence she’s a possible contender for Lou Hayter`s pop princess crown.
Renato appears again on the dynamite duo of Non Ci Pensare and Don’t Stop. Rapping on disco akin to that of Mickey Milan, and dishing out a ballad – a slice of sun-kissed seduction afloat on a gently rippling rhythm – to rival Mike Francis or Lucio Battisti. Jpye`s pal, analogue aficionado, Leonidas, then joins in for the vocodered wade through treacle that is Let The Record Spin.
Listening to Jpye`s album, and the Fuga Ronto LP I reviewed yesterday, I was thinking about how quite a few musical folks who started out making sample-based dub-disco, and balearic edits, have now – after probably decades of dedicated practice – expanded into very assured original production and proper songs. I was thinking about how the music that they’re making is too good to get stuck in the niche where it was kinda “birthed”, about how it should really “cross over”. I was wondering just how can they achieve that? Worthy of a much wider audience than aging DJs and diehard dance-floor devotees, how do they get the exposure that they truly deserve?
Claremont 56 will release Jpye`s Samba With You on July 23rd. For the creative amongst you, the double LP comes with corresponding dubs and instrumentals – which means you can indulge in your own edits and extensions, live.