Kris Menace Idiosyncrasies Review

Album. Released 2009.  

BBC Review

this is a case of more turning out to be less.

Chris Power 2009

Kris Menace, or Christophe Hoeffel to his mother, is certainly industrious. Active on the dance scene since 2005, he has already started two record labels (Work It Baby and Compuphonic), and produced a huge array of original tracks and remixes. So it seems fitting in the light of this prodigious work-rate that Idiosyncrasies, his debut album, should be spread over three discs and last around three hours. Impressive as that is, however, it's less appealing when it becomes apparent that despite its great length, this is an album that's short on ideas.

Menace's sound is typified by opener Discopolis. Uplifting synths play a bright, simple melody that slowly rises up around a tight and straightforward four-to-the-floor beat, the building tension finally released with the advent of the type of solidly funky electro bassline familiar to fans of Alan Braxe and Fred Falke, the French duo who specialised, before their split in 2008, in shiny disco-house nuggets exemplified by their 2000 smash hit Running.

Menace went on to work with both Falke and Braxe and those collaborations are included here. By far the best of his co-productions, however, is 2008's Stereophonic. This is a reworking of the 1995 track Stereo by seminal progressive house producers Spooky, but while it is thrilling – a rising organ melody around which a swirling synth melody weaves itself before breaking into a rock solid breakbeat – it's really no more than a slowed down version of the original track.

Menace's own productions don't stray far from the formula of those already mentioned. Even those tracks on the remix disc, from his version of LCD Soundsystem's North American Scum to Robbie Williams's She's Madonna, are more or less interchangeable with his own original productions. Only his spacey take on Metronomy's Heartbreaker and Moroder-bassline remix of Underworld's Ring Road (which harks back to their own King Of Snake) sound distinctive. And therein lies the problem. Generously priced as a single album Idiosyncrasies potentially offers plenty of bang for your buck, but given the uniform nature of the music on offer this is a case of more turning out to be less.

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