Rush Hour finally press this afro-house oddity to vinyl 12”. On Beletronic Claude Rodap combines drum machine funk and futuristic synth wrangling with the unusual rhythms and scales of traditional French West Indies musical forms, such as Gwo-Ka, Bel Air and Biguine. A truly unique piece of Caribbean experimentalism.
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- Beletronic by Claude Rodap
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9/10 Thomas Spice Customer review, 16th January 2017
2016 was a year in which the reissue market seemed to be emboldened to venture in to new territories. From the unearthing of SA kwaito disco bombs in the form of Mashisa on Invisible City Editions or in the proto zouk smorgasbord offered by Heavenly Sweetness on Digital Zandoli it seems that the primacy of afrobeat and hi-life is waning in favour of pastures new. Carrying on from the discoveries of Digital Zandoli, Beletronic sees Rush Hour unearth some fabulous unreleased zouk from Martiniquan musician Claude Rodap.
Zouk as a musical form emerged and flourished in the 80s as ostensibly synthesised carnival music played in the islands of the French Antilles. Rodap composed these songs at the tail end of 90s and the start of the new millennium so it's understandable that given his length of exposure to zouk that these songs exist as a significant departure from the traditional party focused zouk sound. Heavily synthesised and much more abstract than tradition would dictate the 3 tracks on offer within the ep have more commonalities with western dance music. Both Hiwa and Paco exhibit the same rhythmic and programming propensities that you find in the best that Chicago and Detriot has to offer; look no further than the simmering mid tempo chug of Hiwa with it's Trax style bassline rippling beneath it and the probing fusion style synths of Paco could happily sit on a Kenny Larkin release. Closing track Zouklove meanwhile exists in a hinterland between the gentle balearic sway of Finis Africae and the synth acrobatics of YMO, a sweet guitar lilt mixed with gently propulsive percussion and soaring bursts of synth.
Given these touchpoints with the western dance canon it's easy to see why this release will be so readily accepted by the western dance community. As one of the pivotal labels within that dance music community it's admirable that Rush Hour is taking the time to seek out these previously untapped musical niches and provide a platform for non-western dance styles to be appreciated.
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