Undercover Undercover


Marc Houle Marc HouleUndercover

7.4 / 10

Liquid percussion, hypnotic and incisive effects, walls of synths that go up and down like MDMA, oscillating bass sounds massaging the pill-popping brain. “ Juno 6660” is a perfect example of Marc Houle's skill as a manufacturer of dance music that sticks to the clubber's skin like a nicotine patch, providing them with small doses of elegance and savoir faire to the rhythm of minimal house - with some flashes of techno and eighties synthetics. Houle doesn't get stuck on the surface: he knows how to cut right to the bone, scrape it and make the listener scream.

The majestic five minutes of “ Very Bad” are enough to confirm that our man is not one for a simple single you use once and then throw away: he wants to make timeless hits. The melodic tears of the end (which sounds like a reconstructed electric guitar) and the charges of 80s disco house (for lovers of spy movies) should not be taken lightly. Within his obvious dance floor limitations, Houle plays with moods like some kind of God; making productions full of details and working the loops with a hound-like nose for effectiveness. The Canadian is a lover of dance music in all of its most exquisite varieties. It can be sensed on his first LP for Items & Things (which he directs alongside Magda and Troy Pierce, the pioneer of the 'homeless chic' look): the sweet radiation of Detroit, the classic nerve of the Chicago sound, the romantic affectation of Depeche Mode, the vintage beauty of Kraftwerk, the minimal psychedelia of Berlin. Past, present and future, mixed with a velvet fader for the pleasure of the demanding clubber who doesn't accept any BS.

Marc Houle isn't exactly a rookie: he has a long trajectory on M_nus, the utmost respect from the minimal crowd, and an endless string of positive reviews dating back to the release of his magnificent debut “Restore” to back that up. With all that, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of music, he shapes a sound that isn't too futuristic, nor too retro. It's perfectly produced and has the right amount of melody and effects. There are plenty of reasons to stick your nose into this mountain of digital powder: new wave synths, subtle, mind-altering loops, house imported from Chicago and the atonal delivery of “ Undercover”. The subaquatic bass lines, the mechanical percussion and the muffled beat of the mysterious “ Am Am Am”. The triple distillation of the darkest 80s synth-pop on “Mooder”. The dizzying steam, gliding keyboards and nods to Tha D on “Under The Neath”. Enemies of subtlety and Steve Aoki groupies: you have read this review in vain.

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