Track by Track: François X – ‘Irregular Passion’

Renowned DJ, producer and label owner François X is releasing his debut album Irregular Passion, and has provided us with a track-by-track run-through of the record, giving us a glimpse into the artistic inspiration and creative process behind each individual cut.

François has been a fixture of the underground scene in his native Paris for almost a decade, putting out a number of releases through DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted imprint before founding his own label, DEMENT3D Records. DEMENT3D has provided a platform to freely share his solo and collaborative work with the world, while also giving a home to like-minded artists such as Polar Inertia and DSCRD. X is also a notable selector, helming a key residency at Concrete Paris while making regular appearances at Berghain and Fabric.

Since his first release in 2009, X has established a unique sound that fuses the propulsive movement of techno with the seductive sensuality of house. Irregular Passion is billed as a step forward into undiscovered territory, expanding his perspective to encompass a broader range of styles and moods.

Francois describes the inspiration for the record as emanating “from the fascination towards the intensity of what nightlife has to offer; euphoria and melancholy, spotlights or incognito, sexual contact or lonely voyeurism.” Get a closer look into the thoughts behind each track below.

1. Love of a Lifetime 

I did this track in one take. I especially remember when I first played the keys on my midi keyboard and started to delve into my dreams that night. It’s a very simple track but for me it was a starting point, I knew that it was going to set the tone, the mystery.

2. Blurry Youth

For this track I used a lot of FX and tweaking, it was more about research rather than the music itself. It’s basically a pile of layers, which gives this track a very viscous texture. You will find a lot of pads on the album, as I wanted to have a very evasive atmosphere throughout. The music is heavy and slow, like a journey into the badlands. The blurry youth.

3. Slave, No Slave

Ah this track, so minimalistic but so powerful! It contains only four tracks and a bunch of FX processing. I did a lot of resampling using my TR8 for the drums, the Minilogue for the bass and my SPX 990 multi effects. The atmosphere is so deep, like a lion wandering with honour in the jungle. Majestic. Slave to the rhythm.

4. Just A Dream

Again, this is my typical way of composing and losing myself in the music. I think I made it the same day I made ‘Love of A Lifetime’… I liked that trickling aspect and decided to put it on the album to really lose the listener into a well of thoughts, and to join me into the realm of hazy nights.

5. Falling for Her

This track is maybe one of the oldest on the album, and one of the more powerful. I wanted to create that rush of adrenaline, that moment when you reach the climax of your emotions, lose yourself and fall. It’s literally a mix of my influences. On a technical level, I used a Korg MS20 for the lead sound, and it was funny because I didn’t know exactly what I was doing or looking for, but the result was satisfying and left me some space to focus on the atmospheric part of the track.

6. Under Your Spell

This is another ‘one take’ track. Each time I listen to this track I always tell myself that I couldn’t do it again, I wouldn’t know how. The vibe, the editing… The track was also one of the first, and the day I did it I can clearly remember that I had to go for a jam. There was no other possible way to get this “shamanistic” vibe. When you listen to the track, try to picture an esoteric ritual, try to cast a spell.

Some people say it has that Depeche Mode vibe… Musically speaking it contains a lot of old drum machines like the CR78, which gives the track a kind of poppy/wavy feeling.

7. Dirty Chat

This is one of my favourite tracks from the album. It’s my definition of house music: deep, dreamy, heavy and ultra-sexual. Composed at night, I tried to inject this moodiness and this laid back attitude into the track. It’s murky as hell. If you really focus you can hear some naughty talk in the background; the dirty chat that I sampled…

8. Down Under

Down Under is a collaboration with my friend Opuswerk. We are really pushing each other to the limit when it comes to producing. Looking for new tricks, experiments and testing the limits. We made this track when he came in Paris to visit me. It’s really a groovy, downfall track. If I remember correctly we did some sequencing with his Circlon, which is a great machine (but very complex). The vibe here is never ending, LFOs, filters, envelopes… everything is constantly moving. You are literally down under.

9. Rachael

The key point of the album. I took the lovely R as a muse when I did the album and if you notice, all of the tracks titles are telling a story about a fictitious relationship with this lady. This track was done and redone so many times, but I was never happy with it. Either the mix or the sounds were never as good as I wanted. At one point I had to let go and give the music its freedom. This 80’s vibe is really an ode to those times were decadence was peaking. The golden era of nightlife.

10. Absolute Therapy

For me this is the soft landing, the time you need to recover, to heal. The voice was sampled from a relaxation video I found on YouTube. The arp sequencing is still there to remind us that the craziness is not that far away. So, watch yourself… the night is calling you.

Irregular Passion is out now on DEMENT3D Records. Order it here.

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