Fort Romeau Fort RomeauKingdoms
100% Silk continues to pump fresh blood into their ever-expanding roster. This time it's Mike Norris, alias Fort Romeau (a moniker based on the ski resort in the Pyrenees), a young producer known mainly as the keyboardist at La Roux's live shows. While this is his first release, his faded and nebulous productions seem perfect for Amanda Brown's label; on “Kingdoms”, he seeks emotion in the mist, just like artists such as Maria Minerva, Cuticle and Octo Octa have done on their releases for the Californian imprint. Norris does it using classic house, combining a vintage feel with the fogginess of certain sectors of contemporary underground dance music.
The EP (or should it be classed as a mini album?) opens with “Jack Rollin”, a jacking brew of vocal samples, rolling claps and creamy pads from the Yamaha DX7 synth - the only instrument he used for the release. The title track starts out much deeper, with a slightly dislocated rhythm leading up to an explosion of exuberant lightness, the central theme on all of the tracks. “Say Something” follows the same path, only on a more soulful tip, emphasising the sensuality of his compositions. On “Some Of Us Want For Nothing”, Norris combines a galactic, Detroit-like mood with a nervous rhythm that strengthens as the track advances. “I Need U” also points to The D, this time in the vein of Moodymann, albeit in a more airy and exotic fashion. “Nights Bridge” is the most contemplative piece, a synthetic rendition of 90s ambient-techno with a certain air of spacey R&B. Meanwhile “One Night” cuts up dub echoes with melodies and vocals, while the spirit of the British Summer of Love wanders through it, making it one of the most inspired pieces of the lot. Closing track “Theo” returns to the sound of the opener, softening the jacking quality with some ethereal padding and a hypnotic, repeated vocal sample.
All in all, a more than notable debut; achieving some bewitching results. The productions are enchantingly nocturnal and hedonistic, with an elegance that doesn't lie in their technical delicacy, but in their ability to feed the needs of any dance floor nut. In short: classic house.