Album Reviews

Evian Christ – Revanchist

(Warp) UK release date: 20 October 2023

The avant-garde UK producer is serving Gatecrasher realness on his long-awaited debut

Evian Christ - Revanchist Clubland is back with a vengeance: many of the UK’s biggest hits this year have employed bouncy 4×4 beats around the 140 BPM range and anthemic synths, possibly in response to the TikTok trend of speeding pop songs up. In this environment it seems only right that Evian Christ, a long-standing advocate of trance’s new-age euphoria, releases his debut album on Warp Records.

Revanchist is preoccupied with contrasting the beautiful and the abrasive, which is most evident in the opening track, On Embers. Pummelling kickdrums and shards of hissing treble dominate the first two minutes, then they drop out and warm pads fade in for an impossibly serene middle section. The feeling is akin to being in the eye of a storm, and sure enough these elements collide for a noisy, cathartic finale.

Dynamic contrasts of this type are peppered throughout the record, and the sound design is sometimes more reminiscent of an exhilarating action movie than club music. The Beach is a particular highlight in that regard, as sonorous bass notes, filtered synth ostinatos and a retriggered vocal sample accompany us on this sonic rollercoaster – what if a trance record never ‘dropped’ but was still more intense than most tracks of the era? Here is the answer.

With this intensity comes a fine balance to strike, and several tracks on Revanchist needed something extra to make them work. Nobody Else twists its vocal sample so much that it sounds atonal, and the arrangement shoots for minimal but ends up sounding underdeveloped. Silence is a cover of the Delerium classic, which takes guts to attempt, and perhaps with better pacing and mixing it could have turned out better, however it mostly makes this reviewer long for the beats of Tiësto or Airscape.

The album rallies later on, as With Me delivers some Berghain-ready kickdrums and atmospheric synth layers, and while the plaintive lyrics on top could still be mixed more sensitively it’s less of an issue here (“What if I came up? / I could break in / Want to feel it / Aching / Omen in the sky / I can see it / but I want to feel it again”). Meanwhile Xkyrgios switches things up with frenetic blasts of jungle, cavernous bass, swelling chords that indicate solemnity amongst the chaos. Revanchist is a great display of potential, and with a bit of luck we may see it fully realised next time around.

buy Evian Christ MP3s or CDs
Spotify Evian Christ on Spotify

More on Evian Christ
Evian Christ – Revanchist