Younger readers may not remember the inexplicable chill craze of the mid-’00s. Perhaps it was a reaction to the sudden and terrifying harshness of our beleaguered new century, but whatever the case, gently burbling synths and somnambulant beats were in. You couldn't move in record shops without tripping over stacks of ‘The 100 Best Chill Out Anthems’, or whatever. Dark times.
German producer Nicolas Demuth’s debut album as Parra For Cuva operates in a similar realm. Imagine the music-box jangle of ‘Rounds’-era Four Tet with all the edges removed. Opening track ‘Devi’ tinkles in on what sounds like a harp, before glitching out (tastefully). The title track (below) has a trip-hop feel even before Casey K delivers a vocal that’s soulful and smooth, and just a little predictable. Monsoonsiren’s cameo on ‘Champa’, meanwhile, sounds not unlike a cosier Sigur Rós.
‘Majouré’ is not without its pleasures. It’s well produced and there are smart details dotted throughout, like the skittering snares and pitched-down vocals on album highlight ‘Spiral Master’. It’s certainly more adventurous and less commercial than you might think from a producer who made his name with a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’.
It's a nice enough record, then. But nice is never very sexy.
Words: Will Salmon
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