The 'French Touch' is alive and well with 4th Sign, a new French duo of Joss Moog and Around7, who mix organic, analogue instruments around a core of sample heavy, groove laden house music for label Ondulé.
The new EP kicks off with Sparks, it's finger walking bassline sample nestles snuggly between ass-shaking drum beats and claps, retaining the rough cut edges of the sample heavy tapestry for that crackling and grainy textured effect. Lovely.
Chelou – loosely translated as French slang for 'of suspicion; or 'weird', it's opening bars sample a rolling marching beat from a big beat jazz session, before a thumping and dusty kick drum flesh out the tune, an eerie, scratching melody pulling back on every 4th bar before heavily compressed, Todd Edwards-esque backwards beats clip and skip throughout this bubbling track.
Wild Life starts with a running vocal sample, harmonically interwoven with piano chords, before breaking down into a hip hop track, comprised of lazy, sexy and smooth r'n'b style boom-bap beats, with an apparent vocal sample coming from Kelis; head bobbing, and swinging with street groove, this surprise track is the standout from the EP echoing SBTRKT, Stacey Eps and J Dilla.
Sun Trip carries on the chugging, 4x4 beats in a raw, jacking jam, before jazzy, organ ditties and piano chord samples work in between the grooving tones of the beats and chopping and screwing the music through that famous back jump that characterized early US garage.
Beautiful Friendship brings the pace and tempo back down into a gentle, smooth soul sample, sounding like it's been lifted straight off a lo-fi gramophone player before dusty, disintegrating boom-bap beats gently ease into the mix, increasing the pace gently as elements are cut and pasted – presumably with the help of an MPC - into a choppy, break-beat fuelled romp. Break ya neck on this one.
Finally, it’s up to the strutting, animated funk of En Vrac to close this surprisingly fresh EP, fresh with poly-rhythmic elements, wind flute melodies and clapping, chanting rhythms sampled in to add an almost Afro-beat vibe to this track, plundering everything from classical string samples to jazzy vocal falsettos and beyond. Imaginative stuff and a hell of a debut release.