Bambounou – ‘Orbiting’ (50 Weapons)

After a handful of singles and EP’s on labels such as Sound Pellegrino, YounGunz and 50 Weapons, young Parisian producer Bambounou has shown enough promise to earn himself a debut album on the aforementioned 50Weapons – Modeselektor’s second imprint. Named ‘Orbiting’ after the loose feel of the cosmos the record keeps throughout, Bambounou seeks to emulate his contemporary heroes by mixing the classic elements of Chicago and Detroit with the modern flavours of UK funky and dubstep in his own unique style.

After an appropriately atmospheric introduction the album gets going with ‘Any Other Service’, a combination of long builds of Nintendo inspired synth stabs and tightly whirring dubstep wobbles and bass notes. It’s a solid enough opener but is perhaps over simplified and divided between periods of melody and bass, lacking the charm that would make it really grab hold of you.

‘Mass’ which appeared on his Kobe EP earlier in the year is a more tightly worked dark room track that will provide a tidy change of pace when used in the mix, but it’s not until we reach ‘Data’ that we find a tune that moves with a real purpose of its own. Inspired by the sinister vibe and darkly driving rhythms of Berlin, it phases through spells of rattling percussion and snares, steadily building in intensity while maintaining that industrial texture beneath.

‘Capsule Process’ brings the outer space theme to the surface with warped synth patterns and dreamy atmospheric beds, like ‘Any Other Service’ it’s split decisively between stretches of melody and more energetic bass pressures, but this time out the greater continuity between these phases makes for a far more complete and rewarding track. ‘Let Me Get’ then improves on this again, combining the distinct elements of soft piano chords, deep bass warmth and juked-up drum programming in a cohesive work out, pulling you in different directions with vibrancy and plenty of dancefloor originality.

‘Great Escape’ sees a return of the video game synths in a more chilled out, low-tempo groove, a vibe that’s continued into ‘Challenger’ – a well worked house cut that creates an expansive feel with crisp synth patterns that are punctuated by bigger and bolder stabs.

‘Splaz’ ups the tempo again and offers an interesting little journey powered by manipulated effects before the title track closes the record with an eerie wash of spaced-out interference.

As debuts go it’s a solid beginning for Bambounou, showcasing his production skills and a unique approach to re-assembling the stylistic elements he most admires. He just needs to find that touch of mastery that will galvanise his good work and take it to the next level, to elevate his music from ‘exciting fresh blood’ to ‘sweet jesus have you heard this lad?!’ The raw talent is there, he just needs
that bit of refinement.

Robert Mccorquodale