Débruit - From The Horizon [Civil Music - 2012]Demonstrating an ongoing progression from his first two EPs, Débruit (a French producer) has chosen to hone in on incorporating West African musical ideas with the (currently trendy) British wonky style on his latest full-length From the Horizon. This is no idle experimentation as visits to the actual soils of Africa have provided sampling material (vocal snippets, indigenous instruments, field recordings), a study of African rhythm patterns is apparent and the entire work has been no less than 3 years in the making.
Those uniformed may not be prepared for such an incorporation of direct ethnic influences upon hearing the opening track Cri, as it sounds more like the typical soul-influenced sample-based beat music of the last ten years but with nearly all of the following tunes the overt “African-ness” becomes obvious. The most successful of these employ snaky guitar lines and vocals, however 80s synth-funk is a nice addition (there are even some genuine synth solos tucked away). Standout tracks feature a simplistic upbeat pulsation (Ata, Afro Booty Musique,). Akoula employs a more laid-back hip hop vibe, wild organ slides and a very unique combination of sampled percussive elements.
Unfortunately, this album suffers from midsection drag and presents a succession of tracks which fail to engage as there is a distinct lack of hooks. It never quite recovers the momentum of the first third of the LP, although I believe Débruit is still gathering his momentum in fusing these disparate elements into something I feel could be an outstanding and extremely personal style. It’s interesting to imagine what led this producer to bring together so many components distinctly foreign to him, although perhaps that is just the sort of bold adventuring we need to make a break from the glut of copycat producers working in the digital medium.Scott W