DEPTH AFFECT: Hero Crisis (Autres Directions In Music)


Posted on Aug 12th 2008 12:45 am

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Depth Affect: Hero Crisis

Hero Crisis
Autres Directions In Music 2008
12 Tracks. 45mins34secs

Have Batman’s wings been clipped? Is Superman suddenly sighted? Have the X-Men turned Z-list celebs? Stuck between endless conflicts, political upheavals and credit crunchTM, the world could do better than be afflicted with heroes in crisis. Brace yourselves kids, Heroes are not what they used to be.

Hailing from the city of Nantes, situated at the bottom of Brittany, Depth Affect is the project of David Bideau and Rémy Charrier, who spent part of their student time collecting keyboards and computers. Signed to the excellent Autres Directions In Music imprint, the pair released their first album, Arche-Lymb, a couple of years ago. Taking the frenetic cut’n’paste of Prefuse 73 and applying to a more intrinsically electronic template, while retaining some elements of the vibrant hip-hop beats and grooves favoured by Guillermo Scott Herren, Depth Affect produced an album that had a similar density to that of another French maverick and Warp resident, Jackson’s impressive and fun Smash. Two years on, Bideau and Charrier revive their wicked machines and devise new, darker, attires and appear to compress their heavily sliced beats and electronics to gain more consistency throughout.

Right from the onset of album opener Junior International and Hero Crisis, the tone is set for stuttering beats and grooves, but this is perhaps the closest their ever come to their previous output. Unfortunately, while these two pieces are actually very enjoyable, they struggle to shake off the overbearing shadow of Herren’s work and sound almost too literal a reading of the man’s songbook for comfort. Things fortunately improve with Street Level, which features a rap from Los Angeles-based Subtitle, which follows, and from thereon, Depth Affect are more concerned with developing their own brand than reshaping old rags. This is particularly successful on Radish Field, Dusty Records, with Awol One, or the stunning Dorothea Land. While the compulsive chopping and dicing give the pair’s loops an excellent groovey base, the melodies which develop from these are surprisingly pure and melancholic. This is especially true on Dorothea Land, but Girl’s Math or the poppy Cotton Candy also show signs of introversion which give the album a far reaching depth which its predecessor didn’t achieve. The album concludes on a strong experimental note with the noise saturations of Base Camp Wolf, on which Bideau and Charrier take quite a different approach, ditching the clean lines and digital precision of previous tracks for a much more abrasive and testing formation of saturated noises which progressively build momentum, eventually emerging into a seismic beat for a moment before the album comes to an abrupt end.

Overall, Hero Crisis is a strong record, with interesting contradicting layers giving some of tracks a surprising depth, which ultimately radiates through the whole record. There may still be some heavy influences to shake off, but David Bideau and Rémy Charrier demonstrate here that they can stand on their own two feet and generate a confident and mature sound and stand the distance.


Depth Affect | Autres Directions In Music
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