Dimitri From Paris - Back in the HouseEven though Dimitri from Paris helped define the ethos of first-wave French Touch in the mid-'90s alongside Etienne de Crecy, Daft Punk, Fred Falke, et al., it's not really what he's remembered for these days. Thanks to those mischievous Playboy compilations (the iconic A Night at the Playboy Mansion in 2000, a follow-up in 2002 and a Return to in 2008), as well as his legendary bidding wars on eBay in search of vintage Philly soul obscurities, the Turkish-turned-French producer, tastemaker and tireless cratedigger has cemented his reputation as a fine disco connoisseur, both mainstream and underground.
Back in the House, his first compilation in four years, sees him in a more contemporary mood as he chronicles current nü-disco trends (with artists like Mercury, Moullinex and The KDMS all featured), producer Morgan Geist (toasted no less than three times) and the Maceo Plex/No. 19 school of bouncy, fluorescent house ("Can't Leave You" makes a par-for-the-course appearance). Just to make sure he finds a way to fit right in next to these new peers, Dimitri also peppers his mix with either his own productions or his cheerful, hi-NRG, late-90s-like Eurodisco remakes of the likes of Holy Ghost!, Tyson and Sébastien Tellier. Overall, there is nothing really cutting-edge here in terms of content, but Dimitri is a skilled and clever DJ, so the songs at hand are chained to each other with flair and panache.
If there is one reproach you could address to the selector on duty here, it's that Back in the House sounds exactly like what'd you expect from a contemporary nü-disco-tinged house compilation. When Defected ventured in these grounds in recent years, guest DJs like Tensnake had a certain sense of adventure, something that is regrettably lacking on here despite the inclusion of a few oldies (Marshall Jefferson's seminal "House Music Anthem," KF Flightt's dubby, cowbell-led "Let's Get Jazzy") thrown in here and there for good measure. In that regard, the album's modernist, Mad Men-esque artwork is a perfect fit: Back in the House is a safe, comfortable listen that is well-arranged and fully au fait with its subject, but lacks that elusive something that would make those Playboy bunnies go hmm.