Release Date: Feb 14, 2012
Record label: Permanent Vacation
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance
Barcelona house producer John Talabot has a knack for capturing the very specific kind of bliss associated with dancing on Mediterranean beaches at the height of summer. A penchant for rising chords means that all his melodies make you feel like raising your arms and face to the sun. Talabot also has arguably the greatest sense of build-and-release in dance music since prime Booka Shade: ƒin is full of incredible tension-releasing moments, from the extended break in Destiny to the entrance of Missing You's bouncing bass.
In this era of mass communication and social networking, where the millions jostle for attention spewing forth photos, videos, ideas and identities, the appeal of an artist who does the opposite has never been greater. While not quite up there in the mystery stakes with Burial or Zomby, John Talabot's express desire to be represented by his music, rather than his face or his clothes, is refreshing. Having seemingly appeared out of nowhere three years ago with My Old School and the massively successful 'Sunshine', Talabot moved away from his earlier techno releases into slower and more vague musical territory.
Never tell John Talabot his music's cozy. In a recent interview with Juno Plus, the Barcelona-based producer expressed confusion over many of the labels applied to the music that has made him such a presence in electronic music over the last few years—"tropical" being the most obvious. He insists that he always thought of his productions as kind of shadowy.
Some records are elusive, and that elusiveness manifests itself in different ways. Some of these records don't seem special at first blush, then when you check your Last.fm, you're almost incredulous to find them near the top. Others, like John Talabot's excellent debut record ƒin, are enjoyable from the onset, but the why of that enjoyment is a little harder to discern.
John TalabotƒIN[Permanent Vacation; 2012]By Will Ryan; February 8, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetPop inflection is hardly a new direction for Barcelona native John Talabot. After stirring things up with 2009 single "Sunshine" off his own Havern Disc imprint - his then obfuscated calling card chalk full of glowing krautrock, R&B, African, and disco influences - he released his Families EP on electro-leaning indie label, Young Turks, which featured a vocal spot from tribally synth pop artist Cameron Meslrow, aka Glasser, cementing a direction that looked very similar to artists such as Pantha Du Prince, The Field, and Lindstrøm who managed to step out of deeply embedded scenes and into crossover spotlight. With ƒIN, Talabot's full-length debut, and by far his most emotionally and sonically complex work to date, the Spanish producer's lofty aspirations have at least the potential to be realized.
When the Irish techno producer Donnacha Costello released his debut album, Growing Up in Public, its title crystallized a key dilemma of any emerging artist: At what point do you decide you're ready to venture out of the bedroom? That was back in 2000, well before the internet had shifted into high gear; since then, the coming-out process has gotten only harder. Barcelona's John Talabot and his first album, ƒIN, make for an interesting case study of the musical debutant: This is actually the artist's second time around. Under a different alias, as a resident DJ at one of Barcelona's techno institutions, he began his recording career in the mid 2000s, making punchy, melodic dance music with a clear debt to labels such as BPitch Control and Border Community.
Some albums don’t have to be game-changers to be very, very good. ƒIN is one of them. It has accrued acclaim from critics both in and outside the electronic music community since its February release, and deservedly so – no big hype cycle, no overblown hyperbole or marketable backstory, just a really solid record from an artist plying their trade to the best of their ability.
To casual fans of dance music, Barcelona-based DJ John Talabot seems to have come out of nowhere. The truth is that Talabot has been around long enough to reposition himself in the wide-open field of electronic music. On his debut album, ƒin, the producer’s stylings coalesce into a pulsing and versatile dance release that easily justifies itself as one of the best we’ve heard so far this year.
Appearing a leisurely few years after his initial break-out successes -- the 2009 single "Sunshine," his remix of Delorean's "Sea Sun" -- and the cresting wave of interest in neo-Balearic dance music they conveniently rode, the first full-length from Spanish producer John Talabot bears the mixed blessing of being a little bit late for its moment; trading the freshness and excitement it might have had for a warm but still welcome familiarity. The sound remains mostly the same -- brightly blurry, detuned synth disco and slow-motion deep house -- although there are definitely some changes afoot. For one thing, "sun," a key component of Talabot's original aesthetic, in a metaphoric but still very tangible (and audible) sense, is conspicuously absent from the track list (not to mention the black, tortuous cover art), and the album's contents reflect that, coming across as almost uniformly moody -- wistful, brooding, even mournful -- with minor keys predominating throughout.
The Spanish producer stays ahead of the game by adhering exclusively to his own rules. Mike Diver 2012 With the armchair dancefloor a cluttered place at the best of times, it can be hard for high-quality discs from producers proffering cerebral beats to truly stand out amongst the assembled almost-rans. For every Sascha Ring there’s an individual with a basic grasp of GarageBand but a bevy of the right contacts and, click, there’s an LP that ticks so many on-paper boxes only to disappoint when the record spins.
Spanish dance producer John Talabot has been making a name for himself amongst the dance community over the past few years as one of contemporary dance music’s most inventive and gifted producers. After a string of well received singles and 2011’s excellent ‘Families’ EP, not to mention remix work for The xx and Teengirl Fantasy, ‘Fin’, Talabot’s first full length, allows him to expand his sonic palette and offer up his own unique take on house music. Talabot’s sound is rooted in deep house, the traditional four-to-the-floor beat of the house kick drum is prevalent throughout the record; however, it’s the sounds that he layers on top of this trad beat that make the record so captivating and engrossing.
Barcelona's pseudonymous operator John Talabot approaches his music as you might a collage, or a patchwork quilt. Each individual fragment is woven into the rest so that the joins remain visible, but in certain places they begin to fray, and sometimes disappear entirely. The resulting tracks constantly toe the line between careful structure and blurry mess - and occasionally, when everything works as it ought to, manage to exist in both states as once.