For much of his career, the French producer/DJ Joakim has primed his audience for jarring stylistic switches. Scan his wide-ranging credit list: This is a man who has helped mix Cassius ' dance music as well as a tribute to atmospheric soundtrack master John Carpenter, who has reworked both Tiga's lurid house and J.J. Cale's adult contemporary. He's covered William Onyeabor in addition to Neil Young .
Samurai is the second album Tigersushi founder Joakim recorded since he moved from his hometown of Paris to New York City, but it's the first where he seems to really explore his new habitat, and all the wonder and excitement of moving to a new location. The album was inspired by unpredictable late-night jaunts around the city, so it has a suitably dreamy, shape-shifting feel to it, with surprises waiting at every turn. Of course, Joakim's albums are always highly eclectic, darting between disco, soft rock, new wave, and other styles, but this one seems somewhat more mature and less goofy than some of his other efforts.
“I’ve always tried to resist homogeneity and cohesiveness, as a matter of artistic survival,” French producer Joakim writes in a press release for his latest album, Samurai. That much quickly becomes apparent upon listening to the record, which veers unpredictably between genres and fashions a unique synthesis of instruments, sounds, and textures even within individual tracks. Joakim identifies labels as a source of stagnation, and even without reading his statement it is clear that he consciously avoids producing anything that might attract easy categorization.
The Upshot: An album that is simultaneously familiar yet unique and sets you on a creative sonic journey. BY APRIL S. ENGRAM French producer/DJ Joakim Bouaziz has released his eighth studio album, Samurai that defies genre labeling and is best described as '70s jazz-funk meets '80s electronica. Almost an entirely instrumental affair, Samurai feels more like a Ronin as the album drifts rudderless along Joakim's sonic stream of consciousness.