Depth Affect: Arche-Lymb
Autres Directions in Music

After Depth Affect (Rémy Charrier, David Bideau, DJ Kalmook, V-DJ Xavier) opened a 2004 show for Alias in Paris, the Anticon musician asked the audience to applaud a group he described as “one of the best bands he's played with.” It doesn't surprise, then, that Arche-Lymb, the quartet's full-length debut (following the 2004 Mesquin EP) turns out to be one of the strongest releases to date from the French label Autres Direction in Music. Depth Affect's auspicious sound draws from a wide range of artists and associated styles, with the eclectic result a bold fusion of Prefuse-styled instrumental hip-hop, experimental stutter-funk à la Alva Noto, and Isan-flavoured melodic electronica.

Though the fifty-minute album's heavy on synths and head-nodding beats, it pushes far beyond a predictable, one-dimensional template with rich, stutter-funk hip-hop arrangements constructed from chopped voices, turntable scratching, acoustic guitars, and samples. The group's as adept at restrained electronic explorations (“Blinzeln Blume,” “Vladgorythm Suicide,” “Velvet and Carolina”) as it is tight hip-hop (“Honey Folky,” “Perpendicular B-Boy,” “Castor's Lesson”), with the funky “Od-Mf-Side” a particular standout, especially when Depth Affect adds hazy voice samples for extra sweetener. Alias distinguishes “Wyoming Highway” with a memorable MC turn, while CYNE adds dope flow and blissed-out groove to “One Day or So,” arguably the disc's prime cut. Elsewhere, blistered breaks roll through dramatic cuts like “Dani Guimauve” and the dub-skank of “Vegetable Valley.” An impressive and accomplished debut.

February 2006