French dance music has always looked on the sunnier side of life, in particular the jazz-inflected house of artists such as St Germain. Dimitri From Paris also aspires to that school of thought, and his success with the Playboy Mansion mix series and a decent In The House turn for Defected bode well for his first album outing.
And, sure enough, Cruising Attitude (for weeks I thought it was “altitude”!) is a bright and breezy album. For its fifteen tracks Dimitri pulls in no less than eight guest artists but the style remains his own. The album is too long however – seventy five minutes in all – but its mood means it can be set as an unobtrusive summer soundtrack, with just about enough variety between tracks for the music to drift towards the foreground.
The style is predominantly jazzy, with more nods to the lounge than the dancefloor. Okinawa Love, featuring Kisen Horino, is a gorgeously paced, piano led track with an airy theme. Live Jazz is just that, some evocative brush strokes moving into a deep house beat and subtle piano – very St Germain. The feathery voice of Victor Davies adds some soul to This Is Your Life, one of the stronger vocal tracks, while the most daring departure is in Le Soundtrack, introduced by timpani and given a wordless, Goldfrapp-style wail over the top, most effective.
Where Dimitri seems to feel most at home is in deep house tracks such as Venusienne Dance, with a buzzing theremin-style effect over the top, or in La Vie, which illustrates his capacity to work with strings to good effect. The danger of course is that things will get a bit too syrupy, and Merumo’s cheesy organ sound takes it a bridge too far, despite the sweet vocal.
Dimitri’s skill as a DJ shows in his ability to blend the tracks together in a ‘soft’ mix style, making Cruising Attitude an easy going summer album with a very loose concept, framed by aircraft sound effects. Indeed Dimitri seems to have based the album on his experiences of airports, looking at the period in which air travel was a pleasure rather than in today’s manic DJ scheduling. Unfortunately the hidden track after the final sound effect spoils the structure somewhat.
Not to worry though – this is an album requiring very little effort on the part of the listener. The only thing that’s needed is a touch of summer to go with it!