In the liner notes of his DJ Kicks mix two years ago, James Holden praised the virtues of atypical dancing: "The dance you do lying in bed or driving your car or riding the bus is still a dance," he said, right before offering an hour-long demonstration of such predilections. Rone makes that kind of lying-in-bed dance music. French producer Erwan Castex first came to prominence about five years ago when his name started circulating thanks to inclusions on mixes such as Agoria's At the Controls and Sasha's Invol2ver. On a track like "Bora," his mix of impressionistic electronica, intense spoken word parts and trance-ish inclinations was indeed impressive. Tohu Bohu is his second album for inFiné, and on it he perfects, to powerful effect, this very niche of his.
Featuring High Priest of Antipop Consortium's warm flow, "Let's Go" is a welcomed venture into more upbeat territories, after emotive and discrete openers "Templehof" and the Border Community-worthy "Fugu Kiss." As the album's most expeditious song, it serves as a transition from the more low-key first half to the more epic second. Actually, it's during the album's last third that Rone offers his most accomplished compositions of his short career so far. "King of Batoofam" is emotive techno-trance at its most awe-inducing. "Parade" opts for more delicate tones up to its soaring finale, while "Icare" is so monumental you wouldn't be surprised to hear it used as the closing credit score to a BBC documentary. Unsurprisingly, Castex first made his artistic marks as a filmmaker. After hearing "Icare," you cannot deny his music's impressive cinematographic qualities.
In French, the expression "tohu-hobu" is used to refer to things in states of total confusion and cacophonous disarray. It is ironic, then, that Rone has chosen to title his latest album that way: whereas his Spanish Breakfast back in 2009 was an honest—albeit more or less distinctive—first effort at telescoping electronica and trance, Tohu Bohu comes across as a huge leap forward. More diverse and more focused, this is the work of an artist fully in charge of his vision and craft.