If you’re wondering why we’ve had to wait so long for Daft Punk‘s 4th original album, (Tron soundtrack aside), after what has been a six year wait, we think we’ve found the answer. The French robots have been busy raising themselves a little space baby, called Fabian. On September 5th the bastard child of the French house pioneers will release his debut album, Say Goodbye, on Binary Records and the gene pool has been good to him as he takes Daft Punk’s disco revivalist electronics and reworks them to good effect.
Lot’s of DJs, producers and bands have tried to replicate the Daft Punk sound, with fellow Frenchmen Justice successfully taking the sound to a banging stomp, often over cute lyrics, but Los Angeles’ Fabian has mastered the other end of the Daft Punk spectrum. He’s selected to focus on the Thomas Bangalter robotics – think Music Sounds Better With You from his 1998 hit under the moniker Stardust and you get the sound – which is lighter and less oppressive, although still very French.
The new single, Last Flight, which arrived this week, just two weeks prior to the release of the actual album, begins with a thumping beat almost exactly like that remix Midnight Juggernauts did of Dragonette‘s I Get Around, and therein lies a theme to help show off Fabian’s identity; Midnight Juggernauts’ original work has the same contemporary disco elements hanging around their tunes as Fabian does, yet they made quite an electro re-work of Dragonette’s tune, bringing in the type of bang that Fabian is also capable of. Interestingly, when Fabian turned his hand to remix Dragonette’s tune Easy, he went for the light touch, stirring in some electro but infusing it with something far more sophisticated – disco. It’s his ability to successfully harness both electro and disco that’s got The Recommender’s attention.
Prior to his new album, Fabian was found flirting with that harder edge, with J4W banging like the electro equivalent of those street drummers who tap away on buckets and lids (streamed below). It stomps like it’s Paris in 2007, without any vocals, or disco samples, showing us his slightly angrier side. It’s a trick he repeated on False Ego, which repeatedly slapped you upside your head. It’s a far cry from his debut album’s warmer disco flavours, proving Fabian’s rewardingly grown away from the Ed Banger influences and softened into something far easier on the palate.
His new direction could have been spotted in 2009 from the inclusion of his tune, Heatwave, on Binary’s LA Lights compilation, which handed us a tidy production of lush dance grooves, although, like a lot of his music, it always felt a little ‘done before’ – with it’s camp gloss seeming like an excited teenage boy coming out to all his gay friends, but getting a muted reception. It’s a bit “so what“. Additionally, and much in the same way another album track Dreams To Wishes does, he’s over reliant on that fade-in-from-another-room effect. Things improve later in the album as Draco and Starlight Love bring the dance music down to a walking pace and it’s at this point the full maturity is recognised – we can imagine his Daft Punk parents looking across at him over the dinner table and proudly recognising their boy is ready for the world.
To avoid being forgotten in the same way Stardust or Madison Avenue were, he’s created an electronic album with a remarkably tidy production that gives it depth beyond the temporary dance anthems and one-hit-wonder realms of empty space. Beats drop in all the right places, vocals are utilised well and he knows when to lift and plunge it. The further he moves away from the 1998 influences of his faux-parents the better he will be. You could have assumed it earlier from all the coverage he’s earned on the blogosphere’s major dance sites this last couple of years, but having finally got our hands on his debut album proper we can confirm that Fabian has the feel of the next star in dance music. Daft Punk have every reason to be proud, but ironically it’s their apprentice that’s now reset the bar, should they ever get around to that tricky 4th album. (MB)
FABIAN – LAST FLIGHT
FABIAN – J4W