Review: I:Cube – “M” Megamix

The name I:Cube might ring a bell with some of you from a remix of his track “Disco Cubizm” by a certain pair of French robots, used in their famous Essential Mix way back in 1997. Don’t get it twisted, dude has been grinding ever since with four albums, a remix collection and a shedload of singles dropping over the past decade and a half. “M” Megamix, his new album, is certainly his latest album. Coming off the back of his “Lucifer En Discothèque” EP (stream below) released early this year, it’s an hour-long, 24-track trip through the best clubs in the universe. With 16 seconds of radio-dial shifting, intro “Not Important” is knowingly titled. He’s almost encouraging you to delete this track from your iPod playlist. The music kicks into gear with “Bajo Bajo”, a funky, sleazy minute and a half of funk-laden disco that slides perfectly into the next track. As we all know, this style of music – and its audience – doesn’t always lend itself well to the album format, so I:Cube’s made this collection a sort of album/mixtape/liveshow hydra. Each track slides effortlessly into the next, and the energy and excitement ebbs and flows as it does at all the best parties. He’s even thrown in a few sort of cultural in-jokes along the way.

Stream: I:Cube – Lucifer En Discothèque EP (Versatile Records)

“Your Brain” is a deep and measured jam, all spooky reverb and twisted synths – it uses that hackneyed “this is your brain on drugs line” but in a way we’ve never heard before. We normally expect lyrics like these over frenzied wigouts like Bushwacka’s Healer, not moody space jams like this one. “Transpiration”, the full version of which featured on “Lucifer En Discothèque”, fuses live-sounding disco percussion with 80s rave synths. “In Alpha” goes on a different 80s tip, channelling the same hyperreal frivolity as Daft Punk’s Discovery project. “Jah Menta” sounds like Metro Area submerged in the Hudson and jamming for the end of the world, while “Y.O.U.R.O.C.K.” comes off like In Flagranti’s swansong live show.

Stream: I:Cube – Y.O.U.R.O.C.K. (Preview) (Versatile Records)

Every track is a perfect take on a different style of electronic music, from muscular funk (“Magnetic Mambo”) to electronica-soaked 90s house (“Club Miniature”), and it all comes together marvelously with three wildly different tracks that bring the album to its conclusion. “Too Old For This” pitches “Dominator“-style synths against hip-hop beats and thinks nothing of the disparity between the two. “Lucifer En Discothèque” is as demonic as the title would suggest, as the devil jams out what seems like a trance remix of Queens Of The Stone Age – trust us, it’s more than the sum of its parts. “SH 50 Storm” opens like a Burial song, with passing trains, mournful strings and sampled vocals colliding before rain-soaked, euphoric piano house crashes into Vangelis-style wanderings. As the thunder rolls at its climax we wouldn’t be surprised to hear Rutger Hauer opine on the state of the mix CD in contemporary dance culture. The album’s length – 26 tracks in just under an hour – may act as a barrier to some, but sticking with it is a worthy endeavour. Hidden within is a thrilling take on dance music in any era, crossing barriers of age and genre – almost as if you’re being guided through the best club in the world.

I:Cube – “M” Megamix is out on Versatile Records on May 21.

Aidan Hanratty

Dublin ...

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