SEB FONTAINE Perfecto Presents Seb Fontaine (Perfecto)
According to the press release Mr Fontaine is a Radio 1 DJ whose CV also includes stints at Brixton's The Fridge, Ministry Of Sound and Cream, and this double mix CD apparently contains "a genre jumping mix of nu-skool breaks, debauched electro house and dark sleazy beats". Perhaps there's something faulty with my review copy, because all that appears to be rattling around its yawning 130 minute duration are impossibly bland vistas of rubbery, submarine, slightly Eastern-sounding dance music, blankly featureless and utterly forgettable. Employing only 22 tunes to fill the empty spaces, Seb's phonograph dexterity is barely tested compared to mix albums by the likes of Derrick May, who can skitter through that many tracks in half the time and at least works up some kind of sweat for your money. Here, bar the abrupt change in tempo of Matrix Vs Goldtrix's "Trippin'" (complete with faintly risible ego-trippin' name checking of the DJ himself) there's nothing here to jar the sensibilities of the more, uh, relaxed listener.
So, for me, the only source of any interest or fleeting excitement is in the devilish details - is that a sample from New Order's "Confusion" buried at the back of the mix during Shagrat's "India"? In this uninspiring company the deconstructionist dialogue and fairly brutally minimal techno of David Guetta's "Distortion" qualifies as a highlight, as is Soul Mekanik's "Lil Silver Boogie Box", which lifts its "Rain is wet/Sugar is sweet/Clap your hands/Stomp your feet" refrain from Prince's divine "Eye No", and fizzes and bubbles with the kind of cheeky, burbly acid lines implied by its title.
CD2 begins with Agent Sumo's "The Force", which employs a robotic chant of "Chicago/Detroit/New York" as if that's all it takes to rustle up some old skool cred these days. Saiko Pod's "Groove Moderator" mutters ominously about "the music of the future", and a pretty grim future it will be if it's full of music that sounds like this. Did I miss the passing of some kind of European Union decree outlawing melodic invention in dance music? This stuff is all so greyly functional, making for a miserable and depressing home listening experience and it's a rarity for me to use adjectives such as miserable and depressing in a negative sense. Saints & Sinners' "Pushin' Too Hard" is decorated with ominous synth swathes that sound a little like early Philip Glass if you squint your ears a bit, and Didbaba's "Hold You" is practically a riot of psychedelic playfulness compared to the much of this grim document. Unless your quarry is a dose of dance music with all the life, hope, joy, optimism and invention squeezed mercilessly out of it, stay away.