Before breaking out internationally, Mehdi was making a name for himself in French hip-hop and house circles, producing beats for MC Solaar and collaborating with French stalwarts Etienne de Crecy, Cassius and Daft Punk, the latter leading him to hook up with Pedro Winter, who not only manages the Parisian robots but also runs Ed Banger Records.
If it’s French and electronic, people automatically start to make comparisons to Daft Punk, but only a couple tracks here fit that bill: the epic disco stomper ‘Signature’ re-edited by DP’s Thomas Bangalter, so go figure really, ‘Boggin’’, which would fit perfectly on the ‘Discovery’ album, and perhaps at a stretch the down tempo ‘Survivol.’
The variation on the album keeps things interesting with tracks like ‘Saharian Break’ and Pony Rocking (feat Feadz) evoking '80s hip-hop, while the electro-funk of the Chromeo sung ‘I am Somebody (Paris Version)’ is a nice slice of contemporary pop. Collaborations abound and Fafi appears on ‘Lucky Girl’, which is a great production, but unfortunately the vocals sound a little too much like Fergie’s ‘My Humps’ for comfort. She makes up for it with her sultry singing on ‘Lucky Boy’ though, a swinging flamenco guitar laced number that bounces along superbly. Outlines remix of the title track ups the ante, replacing the guitar with piano and adding their own vocals, complementing things perfectly. I’m torn between which version I like better, they are quite distinct and easily hold their own.
Elsewhere Xanax does his best Prince impersonation on the funkdefied ‘Hot-O-Momo’ and ‘Wee Bounce’ is sweet little tribally breaks nugget. Unfortunately, Switch’s remix of ‘I am Somebody’ dispenses with the vocals, which made the track, and we are left with a generic Switch rehash. Kenny Dope’s take on the other hand is smooth and silky; making Mehdi and Chromeo actually sound like the second coming of Pharell.
Above all ‘Lucky Boy at Night’ is a feel good party-time record with a difference: it has substance. Ed Banger at times has been criticised for its here-today trendiness and all style sensibilities (I’m looking at you Uffie), but DJ Mehdi cuts through the bullshit, delivering the goods and ensuring he will be remembered first and foremost for his music.
Fri / 6 Jul 2007
1 Busy Being Born
2 I Am Somebody (Paris Version)
3 Signatune (Thomas Bangalter Edit)
5 Lucky Girl
6 Pony Rocking
8 Saharian Break
9 Lucky Boy
10 Wee Bounce
11 Leave It Alone
13 Lucky Boy (Outlines Remix)
14 Love Bombing
15 I Am Somebody (Switch Remix)
16 I Am Somebody (Old Skool Remix By Kenny Dope)
Video I Am Somebody By So-Me