our score: 3.0 out of 5.0
late-90's house music hubbub in the UK it became easy to consider
house music as living and dying primarily within the confines
of Great Britain. Sure, there were the bits and pieces to surface
from the U.S. (BT and Moby's sudden popularity surges come to
mind), but relatively little attention was paid to house music
from elsewhere, much less the house music bubbling out of France.
Yet, if you look back at the late 90's and what tracks really
stood out as classics from the era, two are sure to be on most
every list: Daft Punk's "Around the World" and Cassius's
dance-floor smash "1999."
these flukes, however, it's been relatively easy to discount France
as an important player in house music. After all, some of the
more (popular) esoteric electronic music comes from France as
well, including artists like Air, Dmitri from Paris, and St. Germain.
But that's for those who never really heard either of Daft
Punk's discs, or Cassius's debut 1999. Of course, like
most other things out of France, the albums did have to be taken
with a grain of salt - there was a bit of silliness there that
wasn't quite funky... but was something altogether different
(and quite good).
Now, in the
latter half of 2002, Cassius has once again declared their mission
to overtake dancefloors with a collection of dance anthems, telephone
drone-outs, and electrified diva freak-outs with their sophomore
release, Au Reve. Taking a bit of a key from Groove Armada,
this time around Cassius opted for a more organic sound through
the incorporation of live instruments rather than the tired samples
and synths being used and abused by so many others in the genre.
greatest accomplishment on Au Reve is the profound technical
prowess found throughout the disc. There's a reason Boombass and
Zdar are considered some of the top producers in France (having
done production for French rapper, MC Solaar), and it shows up
all over Au Reve.
with teh disc, however, is the lack of cohesion. Cassius jump
around a lot; interludes become songs, which in turn become distractions
from the standout tracks. For example, "Telephone Love"
and its ringing phone sample over a simple buzzbeat gets naggingly
annoying, especially as you wait for something to kick
in. But, distractions like these aside, the standout tracks really
stand out. Maybe that was the point, but either way they do a
major part to bring the album down as a whole.
before, the standout tracks, while few and far-between, put Cassius
back at the top of the house game in 2002. "The Sound of
Violence" (featuring Steve Edwards) is tearing up dancefloors
as I write this, and it is the house song of 2002. "I'm
a Woman" tears things up with a crazy 80's guitar riff that
works here, and Jocelyn Brown's voice simply can't be beat.
Leroy Burgess's dual appearances on the disc, "Under the
Influence" and "'Til We Got You and Me," shine
as well, with the latter coming in a close second to "The
Sound of Violence" for house track of the year.
Were it not
for the misguided extended interludes, Cassius could have had
an ace album on their hands. Instead, they've done an ace job
making a handful of tip-top tracks with a few unfortunate indulgences
along the way.
liked Au Reve...
2. Sound of Violence
3. Under Influence
4. Telephone Love
6. I'm a Woman
8. Till We Got U and Me
9. How Do U See Me Now
13. Au Rêve