In his career as Fakear, French electronic producer Théo Le Vigoreux has explored and experimented with many different aesthetics over the past few years. The lush, ethereal Morning in Japan EP and the more complex, emotional Sauvage EP proved his worth in the vast world of textured, sampled electronic music, as well as highlighted his skill in evoking the same sort of passion found in world music with intricate, exotic sounding beats. In Animal, Fakear’s debut album, the inspiration is centered in the heat and tension of the jungle, where his signature flourishes are able to blossom and thrive.
As if attempting to make up for lost time, Animal houses a whopping seventeen tracks, each having its own particular flair while still managing to remain in its overall exotic, other-worldly aesthetic. Almost like stepping carefully into the unknown, blistering heat of the jungle, each layer of opener “Sheer-Khan” emerges in waves, then quivers and vibrates in place once you’re comfortable, soothing with its focused, sharp vocal sampling. The title track, while more minimal, packs in everything from deep, house beats to a bright, shimmering violin melody, and given the title, proves effective in capturing the simultaneous beauty and intrigue that one may ponder when viewing a majestic beast. In “Silver” – the first track featuring lyrics from Rae Morris – Fakear shows his talents in enveloping the human voice free of splicing and patchwork, resulting in a smooth, atmospheric sound. Unfortunately, there always tends to be a few filler tracks in between the stunners on electronic albums, and here, “Red Lines” and the spotty, moody “Le Chant Du Monde” take the blame. However, the meticulous work clearly done on the rest of the album overshadows them completely, picking up again on the bouncy “De La Luz” and slowing down on Rae Morris’s second track, “Leaving Tokyo.” In between lies the the stunning “Ankara,” which builds again in layers until it finally explodes in a mirage of beautifully orchestrated vocals. The only gripe with the album at this point is its slight issue with fluidity – considering the differing styles, there were moments where I felt a track could flow more effortlessly into the next, or even have tracks swapped around or deleted in order to perfectly encapsulate Fakear’s desires to create his own version of a lovesick album.
However, if there was only one aspect of Fakear that truly separates him from the hundreds of electronic artists in a fresh way, it would have to be his brilliant method of vocal sampling. Though these are still basically instrumental tracks, due to the manipulated and spliced vocals, each track has a mind and mood of its own, even isolated from the exotic instrumentals that give it its body. While “Lessons” follows this to a certain extent, “La Lune Rousse” – which also appeared on the Sauvage EP – is perhaps the finest example of this as well as showcasing Fakear’s passion and emotional influence. As if the absolutely breathtaking instrumentals aren’t enough to show it, the cries and sighs that emerge in the vocals really push it over the edge into brilliance. This is the track that I keep returning to after indulging in Fakear’s more primal tracks, mainly because it remains the most delicate despite the harshness of synths and drum beats. Walking the line between frenzy and beauty Animal, despite its slight hiccups, remains a complex work that spans many differing styles and aesthetics, and the perfect first step for Fakear as a more mature artist.
photo courtesy of artist/Laurene Berchoteau