French artist Chapelier Fou makes electronica with an optimistic outlook. He's released a flurry of EPs on Ici D'ailleurs, but 'Deltas' presents him as an established artist confident in his own skin, brandishing a record of playful IDM with a steady bedrock of beats and lush arrangements that dance in the foreground.
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Louis Warynski's third album as Chapelier Fou is the first I've heard. My first thoughts on coming to this fresh were, is his name really Mad Hatter? If so is this going to be some kind of bonkerz sound mash up, and finally... I don't think I'll like it.
However the Mad Hatter name is misleading, this is sophisticated electronica shot through with the composers use of strings. Clearly Warynski is a talented musician as well as arranger, his work on soundtracks evident here as well as his skill with the violin. However these two elements for me perhaps should have been restrained as for me the best parts of this album are when the strings are held back and the beats are focused more on the head than the heart.
Some tracks just seem to have a little too much of the 'this is the emotional bit' soundtrack vibe where the music becomes a little saccharine. The best moments for me are on tracks like 'Tea, Tea, Tea' which focuses on an beats and unlike most of the album has a sense of a chorus giving added drama.
There is also a satisfying Cafe Del Mar vibes on 'Pluisme' where there is a sense of some of Underworld's work as Lemon Interrupt. There is further variation with the addition of vocals on 'Tickling Time' though the album really does focus on the electronic beeps, strings and beats formula throughout.
The blend of organic and electronic is well done, though with artists auch as Caribou and Four Tet around having done similar for some time it doesn't exactly feel groundbreaking. There are clearly far worse examples of this kind of sound out there though. For me I think if the violin had been left in its case rather more often, this could have been even better. Whilst that instrument is possibly the artists calling card, it does at times give a slight novelty feel, a slight Gypsy Rhumba sound that doesn't appeal to me.
Nit picking about the violin aside though, this is an accomplished work with some depth that I feel would find a home alongside those that appreciate Bonobo's grandiose moments.
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