Marcelus

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This stylish and accomplished debut album from Frenchman C├ędric Bros takes influence from both Detroit and Berlin techno and adds a dash of house flair. While some techno artists use the album format to branch out and try a number of different styles, Marcelus has done the opposite -- his singles were quite varied affairs, so here he has deliberately stuck fairly rigidly to techno aimed at the dancefloor. That said, this is no steely, uncompromising outing. It's powerful, to be sure, but there's a warmth here that's notably absent from much modern European techno, and is probably down to his early education in house music. The album incorporates mathematical principles, using the numbers pi and phi in the programming, but it's never a rigidly academic exercise. Opener "Initial Sense" overlays a synthetic drum tattoo with echoing high-pitched tones and aquatic sonar pings before introducing pounding, propulsive kicks and shuffling, panning brushstrokes. "Foreplay" juxtaposes warm, organic-sounding kicks and subs with industrial clanks and metallic insectoid buzzes. "Steel Drums" is a belter, gradually building layer upon layer of percussion with powerful laser blasts; "Multiply" maintains its sultry, funky swing over ten whole minutes; "Meta Jam" is like cracking open the airlock of a deserted space station and creeping down its aseptic corridors to find a party of androids grooving in the cargo bay. "Jungle Electronique" has pounding, polyrhythmic tribal beats cut with excoriating bursts of sonic radiation, while closer "Fear Is Gone" clatters like a ghost train hurtling out of control through the dark. There's a cavernous feel to many of these tracks, with copious use of delay and reverb. To some extent there's a pattern that is repeated throughout the album, but there's more than enough variety to keep things interesting. All in all, this is a very fine debut demonstrating both significant programming skill and a true musical ear on the part of its creator. On this basis, a fine future for Marcelus is secured.

Track Listing - Disc 1

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Track Listing - Disc 2

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Track Listing - Disc 3

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