Akufen - My Way
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Akufen
My Way
(Force Inc)

Judging from listening to My Way, Marc Leclair feels much the same way about radio that I do. While he has indeed used samples of different snippets that he could pull out of the airspace with a tuner and a shortwave radio, he has taken those ultimately empty manufactured pop sounds and turned them into something entirely different and more exciting. Creating post house populated with the ghosts of radio present, he's created something slightly glitchy, yet pretty damn smooth at the same time. Yeah, it doesn't make sense to me either, but it will once you hear the disc.

Over the course of 10 tracks, Leclair has pulled little bits and pieces and completely reconstructed them from the ground up, with pulsing rhythms and readymade melodies composed of snippets from hundreds of different sources. Little bits and pieces sound familiar here and there, but they're in and out of the mix so quickly that you can't place them. "Even White Horizons" opens the album with layers of acoustic guitar and cut-up bits of vocals that sound somewhat like Barry Manilow (but aren't), and the track lopes along with an interesting energy as sounds pile on one another and loops reply to almost hypnotic effect.

The zeniths of the album is "Skidoos," a track that throws together so many disparate samples at the beginning that it literally feels like you're spinning the radio dial and picking up different bits of stations with every turn. Eventually, it all coalesces into a thumping, dancefloor-friendly number, and despite the madness of the flickering sample bits, it works quite well. The same thing works with the absolutely funky-ass "Jeep Sex," in which bits of harmonica and vocals squiggle out of a wonky, bass heavy dance track. Again, the crux of the song sounds like someone going crazy on the radio dial, but it still manages to make you want to dance.

Despite being one of the neatest ideas that I've heard in awhile in regards to sampling and cut-up sounds, the album wears a bit thin when listening to it from start to finish. There's no doubt that the time that went into the process of creating something like this is pretty extraordinary, and the samples and songs are all catchy, but many of them simply go on for too long while recycling the same bits over and over again. With 10 tracks that run right about 70 minutes, it has many great moments, but also several where tracks could have probably standed to be cut down a smidge. Still, if you're into artists who are pushing boundaries while still creating music that makes your body move (like Matthew Herbert), this should be right up your alley. I know if I heard a cut of this while I was at the club, I'd be twitching.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00