To release your debut album on three CDs is a pretty bold statement of intent, which is what Kris Menace makes with Idiosyncrasies. Rest assured, however, that this is no three act progressive opera – more it’s a chance to look at all aspects of the producer and DJ known on his birth certificate as Christophe Hoeffel, and his dancefloor achievements thus far.
Rather cleverly, it is possible to explore each of the three aspects of his work on a disc each, with a first long player of up front house, a second of music of a more chilled, Balearic origin, and a third of remix material.
Yet wisely it kicks off with Discopolis, the track that got Kris Menace noticed by Defected in 2005. It still sounds mighty fine, a satisfying mix of glam and synth pop that struts across the dancefloor while preening itself. Here it is presented in full, nine minute glory, and doesn’t outstay its welcome even then.
The Fred Falke collaborations are explored on discs one and two, and leave the listener / dancer feeling all warm and fuzzy. This is Balearic house at its best, while taking in a slightly slower disco sound. The same applies to Menace’s new material with Felix Da Housecat, only with more swirling electronics added to a heady mix.
Stereophonic brings back Spooky’s breakbeat masterpiece of 1995 for a deserved reappraisal. One of the best things about Stereo was its homegrown sound, and Menace wisely avoids tinkering too much, beefing up the bass and adding a shiny synth line or two but stopping there. Snapshot, meanwhile, shows his capability of a darker sound, with a sharper approach evoking early rave.
The second disc would make excellent Cafe Mambo material, starting with the slow moving Sensuality and the slightly funkier Micropacer Again a Fred Falke impresses, Electricity this time showing off a few Daft Punk-isms with a rockier edge.
The remix CD inevitably includes a lot of ‘intro’ and ‘outro’ beats that would get cut out in a DJ mix, but Menace does to his credit use these to build the track. An excellent take on LCD Soundsystem‘s North American Scum is one of the highlights, vividly bringing the middle of a packed dancefloor to your stereo, while even Robbie Williams‘ She’s Madonna gets a new lease of life. Even Underworld‘s Ring Road, not perhaps the strongest from their Oblivion With Bells LP, doesn’t suffer in this form.
Kris Menace, then, impresses hugely with this account of his dancefloor achievements thus far. It’s a good rounding-off of his first period, and presumably prepares him for something more obviously structured. For now, though, this will do mighty fine for lovers of good house music.