Making music has always been a fun enterprise for Tiga, and three years ago he managed to harness his wicked sense of humour with an uncommon sensibility for making people dance. The result: Sexor, a big hit with clubbers, whether staying in or going out.
Ciao!, despite its cheery title, presents a darker side in places, yet the fundamental elements of Tiga’s style remain – and continue to impress. On one side you’ve got the earth shaking beats of Mind Dimension, while on the other the more introspective views presented in a song like Luxury.
There’ll be a lot of ‘pleasure from the bass’ on this album, to quote a previous song title. Mind Dimension drills into the depths early on, the simple line brilliantly effective, while Overtime uses a bass so low it’ll pass underneath the capabilities of many a speaker system. What You Need, meanwhile, goes for broke with a thrilling rush of electronic noise.
Up top we have plenty of glitter and glamour. Shoes is an ace ode to footwear, and funky with it, while Luxury is a sleek, polished song. This is Tiga with his solemn face on, bearing a striking resemblance to the The Beloved‘s Sweet Harmony, and he airs some insecurities too, the luxury “giving me piece of mind”.
Other lyrics in the more upbeat songs are not immune from this more sensitive side, either. “Misinformation is surrounding me, it breaks me down, I’m on my knees,” goes the resigned vocal to Beep Beep Beep.
A formidable array of production talent appears on this record, but Tiga manages the delicate balancing act of letting them do their thing without compromising his. So it is that Soulwax get the groove up and running on Beep Beep Beep, but also add a more sombre note at the end with Love Don’t Dance Here Anymore. James Murphy also shows two sides of his personality, with the good-time Sex O’Clock and the more thoughtful Gentle Giant.
It’s the two more downbeat tracks that end the record on an elegiac note. Love Don’t Dance Here Anymore sounds like a cousin of Murphy’s own New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down, and could be an ode to a closing nightclub. Tiga’s voice is strangely close to Prefab Sprout‘s Paddy McAloon, wistfully reflecting on the end of a night before being disturbed as the music goes up tempo again. Meanwhile Gentle Giant pleads poignantly for “one more song, another dance to make me feel in love tonight”.
By exposing his sensitive underbelly on album number two, Tiga builds up some impressive strength in depth, while pushing the electro-house intersection for all he’s worth. It’s a winning ploy.