Since his first release in 2005, Kris Menace has walked the fine line between the commercial and the underground. "Discopolis," his greatest success, was snapped by Defected and received a plethora of cheesy remixes, while current single "Scaller" (think "Ribcage" after a heavy electro-choc therapy session) has been played out by the likes of Felix da Housecat and Erol Alkan to Sasha and Pete Tong. That said, Menace has never pandered: He's always released his material on Compuphonic—his own label—and it's allowed him to remain an intriguing marginal player with a diverse sound palette and a credibility that's barely ever questioned. Instead, along with Lifelike and Frenchmen Alan Braxe and Fred Falke, Menace has simply become the 4th apostle of post-Crydamoure/Roulé filtered house, and Idiosyncrasies—his 3-CD compilation—is the sub-genre's most convincing gospel so far.
CD 1, opening with "Discopolis" and closing with "Scaler," displays a strong sense of sonic identity but also keeps things varied by dropping in examples of his numerous collaborations. "Fairlight," an early pairing with Fred Falke, has the type of gorgeous end-of-night feeling usually found in Italo-disco at its most somber and obscure, while "Lumberjack," featuring Alan Braxe, is shamelessly celebratory. The stuff found on CD 2 might be lesser known but it's just as compelling: "Affinity," "Lightning," and "Enamoured" (enhanced by Braxe's trademarked bouncy bass line) are the type of electro house cuts usually best ignited by Mylo or Linus Loves, while "Poesie" and "Vanity" could be hypothetical dub versions of Klymaxx-like, early-'80s electro funk; "Dreamsequence," meanwhile, wouldn't sound of place at the end of a Vangelis-sponsored soundtrack.
With tracks such as "Stereophonic," "Snapshot" and "Steamroller," Menace mixes early Chicago house influences with NYC garage from a filtered house perspective: All that's missing is Crystal Waters or Ce Ce Peniston singing about finding pure love with Mr. Right on top. In fact, Menace's dedication to instrumentals is one of the few things that holds him back from a crossover moment. You can hear his hesitation in his remixes, where you'd be lucky to recognize any traces of Tracey Thorn's warm tone or Roisin Murphy's quirky presence. The remixing jobs gathered on CD 3, indeed often seem more like monologues Menace is having with himself in the studio rather than actual exchanges with the remixee: his take on Metronomy's "Heartbreaker" is, in this sense, the only moment of faithfulness you'll find on here. Otherwise, you can tell Menace knows this is part of his appeal, and this is why he barely lets Robbie Williams, Moby or Underworld voice any concern (and probably why attention-loving stars such as Madonna and Britney aren't begging for remixes).
Idiosyncrasies is hard to indulge in one take—as any 3 CD collection is—but it's mostly a question of quantity, not quality. We always tend to assume that Justice and the Ed Bangers are Daft Punk's true heirs, and on some level, this is accurate. Yet those in search of Discovery-era digital frissons should look no further than this, the unlikeliest—dare I say "idiosyncratic"?—gospel you'll ever hear.
Buy Kris Menace - Idiosyncrasies at
Tracklist: Kris Menace - Idiosyncrasies
01. Discopolis (w/ Lifelike)
02. Fairlight pt.1 & pt.2 (w/Fred Falke)
04. Lumberjack (w/ Alan Braxe)
05. Artificial (w/ Felix Da Housecat)
06. Stereophonic (w/ Spooky)
09. Invaders (w/ Hexstatic)
07. Challenger (w/ Douze)
10. Enamoured (w / Fred Falke)
13. Electricity (w/ Fred Falke)
01. LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum (Kris Menace Remix)
02. Tracey Thorn - It's All True (Kris Menace Remix)
03. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (Kris Menace Remix)
04. Air - Mer Du Japon (Kris Menace Remix)
05. Winona - Without You (Kris Menace Remix)
06. The Presets - My People (Kris Menace Remix)
07. Robbie Williams - She's Madonna (Kris Menace Remix)
08. Felix Da Housecat - Something 4 Porno (Kris Menace Remix)
09. Metronomy - Heartbreaker (Kris Menace Remix)
10. Moby - Oh Yeah (Kris Menace Remix)
11. Underworld - Ring Road (Kris Menace Remix)
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