George Issakidis / Karezza
CD / Digital / Vinyl
Kill The DJ / Released June 2013
If one word aptly describes this debut LP from veteran French producer George Issakidis, it’s ‘patient’. More than 15 years in the making- during which time the man in question formed The Micronauts, occasionally partnered with Speedy J (amongst others), and set up his own label, The Republic of Desire- opening number Hiva Oa is a strange, slow paced and gradually burning low slung house slugger that hooks the ear before the brain even realises, and doesn’t let you go from there.
It sets something of a precedent for what follows. Anyone disappointed with the recent, much-hyped LP from France’s biggest dance act because it lacked any real Homework-style creative electro could do far worse than examine this outing closely. Not that there are many similarities between this artist and Daft Punk, other than their shared homeland.
Still, Issakidis’ work is resoundingly fresh, not least tunes like Shivers; all staccato vocal stabs and snare punches creating something that would be abrasive if it weren’t so dirty and invitingly danceable. Similarly, Hold My Hand‘s dominant synth line, and stripped percussive section threatens to go off the rails, but stops just short, and is all the better for it. As with so much of what’s here it’s kind of harsh, inescapable even, but then also hypnotic and balanced. No sooner have we begun wondering ‘what the hell is going on?’ than we’re submerged beneath less aggressive tones, stepping grooves and delicate details, as oppose to great big noises.
Tracks like Karezza are fine examples of exactly where Issakidis’ real studio strength lies. Poised on a knife-edge, its dark, trippy, and very easy to find yourself nodding along to irrespective of volume. Like one of Michael Mayer’s deep oddities, it’s something that once heard won’t be forgotten for weeks. Nor will Next To You, an eerie vocal breakbeat number that’s part menacing, part party starting- a description that’s arguably the best way to summarise the overall sonic aesthetic of this package. Impeccably made and utterly inimitable, we’re just hoping it won’t be another decade and a half until we have another album like this to enjoy.