It’s been a few years since France was one of the centres of the global dance scene. There was a period when the irrepressible good vibes of the French Touch sound were everywhere, but over the last decade it almost seemed like the country was lying low. France is on course for a comeback though, with fresh crews emerging to twist electronic sounds into new shapes. Antinote leads the charge with its superb run of balearic and oddball electronica releases, while Lyon’s Brothers From Different Mothers crew have been bubbling up with a much tougher sound. Somewhere in the middle sits Moonrise Hill Material, a label focusing on warm, tactile house excursions generous with their instrumental samples and sporting a faded glow.
The label is co-run by Bruno Boumendil, who took the name Folamour as a reference to Kubrick (it’s the French translation of Strangelove). Boumendil burst out with last year’s Oyabun EP, a blissful package of jazzy deep house which is already fetching eye-watering prices on Discogs. Now he’s returned for a victory lap on Irish label All City, returning to the lush textures and chunky drums which made 2016 a breakthrough year for the Moonrise crew.
Two of the EP’s three tracks offer exactly what you’d expect, and they do it well. Maybe I Did Burn Ya Place is a chilled burner, deep pads glowing under a loose rhythm. It’s a patient piece, content to let the listener sink into the rich arrangement and seek out the funk-indebted melody buried deep in the mix. Each Day Is A First Day runs at a more sprightly clip, its unhurried keys layered with a garbled soul vocal. Yet it’s on title cut Shakkei that Folamour really hits the mark. He returns to a prominent piano figure (which made Novalaise such a gem), but this is not daydreaming music – the rousing melody wears the manic edge of vintage Detroit house, dosing the dusty arrangement with a shot of adrenaline. Folamour’s ability to conjure immaculately chilled house was never in question, but it’s great to know that he can do a club weapon too – of course, in his own blunted style.