Depth Affect: Hero Crisis
Autres Directions in Music

Two years on from its Arche-Lymb debut, Depth Affect (Rémy Charrier, David Bideau, DeesK, DJ Kalmook) returns with an aggressive, forty-six-minute mix of electro, boom-bap, and click-hop. Originating in Nantes, France, the group takes its sound to the next level on Hero Crisis's dozen cuts, two of which feature separate vocal turns by Subtitle and Awol One. Depth Affect boldly chops voices into delirious swirls (that verge on glossolalia in “Cotton Candy” and “Dorothea Land”) and chops melodies with a similar élan, resulting in hook-heavy throwdowns teeming with bleepy synth lines, handclaps, and crushing beats. Best of all, the group's forward-thinking approach doesn't get in the way of the material's basic funkiness.

Depth Affect makes room for a few gentler moments—the bright tinkle of glockenspiels and hypnotic vocal loops offset the melancholic crunch the group otherwise cultivates during “Girl's Math,” and a sing-song melody occupies the center of “Dusty Records”—but Hero Crisis impresses most when the group doesn't hold back. In the superb title cut, meteor showers of vocal fragments collide with a tight stutter-funk pulse, while the dizzying throb of “Street Level” suggests Depth Affect's been drinking from Dabrye's heady well in recent days. Album highlight “Dorothea Land” pairs the lethal whip-crack of snares with the squiggly throb of a heaving low end—not a terribly subtle gesture but powerful nevertheless.

July 2008