Seb Fontaine

Prototype, Vol. 3

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For his third Prototype album, Seb Fontaine does his best to distance himself from the occasional dose of formulaic, sugary trance that crept into his two preceding releases. For the most part, there aren't any ATB-style trance anthems or Cevin Fisher-style house anthems here, mostly just a bunch of hammering progressive house stompers with a few popular songs thrown in for balance: Chemical Brothers' "Music Response," Moby's "Natural Blues," Oliver Lieb's "Subraumstimulation," and Cygnus X's "The Orange Theme." Thankfully, these four popular songs all get the remix treatment, making them vaguely alien while retaining their familiarity. Like the two successive volumes in the Prototype series, the first disc finds Fontaine parading through a series of house tracks, though here he doesn't bother to warm-up, heading almost directly into hard-hitting progressive sounds; by the end of the set, the tracks get pretty banging, edging across the fine line that separates hard progressive house from the synth-driven melodies of trance. Similarly, the second disc doesn't mess around either, heading directly into hard, dark territory, beginning with a pair of Oliver Lieb productions and the hot-rod version of "Natural Blues." By the time Fontaine hits the mood-shifting zenith of this set, Marmion's "Five Years & Tomorrow," the relentless hard rhythms change gears, concluding the set with a run of peak-hour trance. Though Fontaine no doubt succeeded in his mission to produce a harder, darker, and less sugary album with Prototype, Vol. 3 and its stable of consistent, quality tracks, he also seems to have ignored the many stylistic shifts that made Prototype, Vol. 2 such an adventurous listen despite its spotty nature, focusing here instead solely on straight-ahead rhythms with little chance for his listeners to catch their breath.

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