House music has certainly come a long, long way since its origins in the legendary Chicago nightclub The Warehouse back in the late 70s/early 80s with DJ Frankie Knuckles speeding up disco 12-inches to keep the people dancing into the morning light. In its purest form, its sound never really strayed too far from the core rhythms generated by the arsenal of synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines, even when elements of other genres like reggae, hip-hop, gospel, R&B, Latino, and ambient slipped into the mix as the music globetrotted from Chicago to Detroit to New York City to London to Ibiza over the course of its 30-odd year existence. Sure, the melodies and effects may get switched up, but it’s generally still the same mindless, pulsing repetition that isn’t exactly conducive to anything but shaking your tail feather on the wood floorboards of your local dance club.
Even by French producer Joakim Bouaziz's varied standards, his fourth album is a particularly scattershot affair. It opens with spacerock epic Back to Wilderness, a swamp of feedback and buzzing guitars, and veers wildly through italo pastiches, droning, desert-baked blues and jaunty electro, complete with tentatively flirting computerised voices. It takes a while to cohere, but ultimately the depth as well as the breadth of Joakim's ideas carry the album; indeed, its finest moments are its most shape-shiftingly ambitious ones.
Joakim Bouaziz is one of those slyly ubiquitous artists who hangs around the periphery of your music collection. The busy producer/DJ/songwriter has spent the last decade remixing artists like Cut Copy and Annie while working for France's Tigersushi Records. A classically trained composer, Joakim periodically submits full-lengths of his own material, genre-jumping affairs that play like the product of an artist with disparate, long-developed ideas and non-traditional thoughts about what a full-length should accomplish.