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Akufen My Way Review

Album. Released May 2002.  

BBC Review

Marc Leclair delivers an album with one foot in the dancefloor and the other in the...

Olli Siebelt 2002

We've been waxing lyrical about Montreal quite a bit this year, and rightly so. With excellent releases on labels like Suction, Constellation and Oral there's certainly a lot of promising new music coming out of Quebecois Canada in the last few months and there looks to be a fair bit more to come. However, whether or not any of them will be able to match the awesome power and technical brilliance of Akufen's debut full length is now most definitely in question.

Having been called the Canadian Brinkmann, Akufen's main man Marc Leclair has been releasing a few 12 singles here and there, mostly on German labels like Perlon, Background and Trapez, but it's here on his debut full length on Force Inc. that we really see what the man in capable of.

Leclair's plan of attack is simple yet devastating in its effect - tiny fragments of random radio signals are sampled and overlaid onto massive upbeat 130bpm tech/house loops in a cut and paste technique that would make even John Oswald proud.

Everything and the kitchen sink are thrown in - half second blips of adverts, pop songs, classical music, tango beats, even talk radio hosts - all creating a plunderphonic mix that evolves, snaking and stretching along like a rubber band, all the while underpinned by deep funk rhythms and a pounding 4/4 beat that glues everything together.

The result is a devastatingly funky record that will completely mess with your mind and force you to get on the dance floor before your brain has had time to figure out what it is you're actually hearing.

My Way lurches and hiccups like a madman possessed spinning a radio dial hooked up to a massive sound system while Pete Tong plays funky house next door. While it's got uptempo tracks a-plenty, Leclair does show a soft side, bringing out his taste for the more minimal and granular sounds of a label like Basic Channel or Static Caravan.

"Even White Horizons" and "Skidoos" both jump and skitter around but have a calm zen-like quality to them. Leclair manages to avoid taking away the pure emotion of a track, no matter how schizophrenic it may get.

That's one of the really impressive things about this record. My Way manages to walk a fine line between full-on commercial sensibility and left-field experimentation and yet somehow pulls off both simultaneously with no compromise on either side. It's out there all right, but its funky as hell.

You know, it's easy to gloat about good music and get caught up in the moment when you first hear a CD, but trust us - this one is something really special. Absolutely essential.

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