dOP: Watergate 06
Watergate Records

The Parisian band dOP—beat programmer Clement Zemtsov, keyboardist and horn player Damien Vandesande, and vocalist Jonathan Illel—brings a rather unusual slant to Watergate's mix series. In place of the standard DJ mix, dOP's set is closer in spirit to a live jam featuring the French trio and numerous guests. Rather than cherry-pick from a multitude of other artists' productions, dOP has its fingers all over twelve of the mix's thirteen tracks, whether as remixers, co-creators, or sole authors. What distinguishes the trio's music further is not so much the joie de vivre and irreverence that the group's music so palpably exudes, but how organic it is, with the trio committed to creating dance music using vocals and real instruments (including flutes, horns, percussions, glockenspiel, and saxophones).

“The Dust” (recorded live at Watergate by Enliven dOP Acoustic, an expanded version of dOP that includes members of the German group, Enliven Deep Acoustic) inaugurates the set perfectly with a brief hit of clubby soul that segues seamlessly into a banging collab with Nôze, “Les Fils du Calvaire” and a funky hip-shaker with Aquarius Heaven, “Before You Go.” The mix alternates between delirious house cuts (Daniele Papini and dOP's “Carte Blanche”), jazzier outings (a piano-laden Selianka edit of “Deaf Wagrant” by Catz & Dogz and dOP), and tribal-house party jams (Wareika and dOP's “Play Play Play”). One of the disc's strengths is its powerful melodic dimension. “Les Fils du Calvaire,” for example, is rendered most memorable by the presence of a haunting chant, while the group's sleek pair-up with Seuil, “New York,” is elevated by a graceful instrumental bridge that features a melancholy solo (hard to tell whether it's a melodica or saxophone). The penultimate dOP remix of Khan's “Candy Girl” likewise gives the mix a different twist, by pushing it into a vocal-based song direction rather than a clubby one, a move dOP's “Goodbye” takes to an even greater degree when it caps the disc with a vocals-and-horn-laden dirge—no doubt the first time a Watergate mix has ever ended in such manner.

July 2010