Aufgang: Sonar

Rone: La Dame Blanche

Listeners who aren't full after ingesting Rone's Spanish Breakfast might want to sample La Dame Blanche for dessert. That the style of the near-forty-minute EP doesn't deviate from the sleek sound Erwan Castex so compellingly presents on his full-length debut makes sense, given that the EP's comprised of extended album versions and remixes (two of the four digital only). At times it seems as if traces of “Heater” are slipping into “La Dame Blanche” but no matter: the driving track's splendid anyway. An excellent example of the Rone style, the EP's extended version sails breezily for a scenic nine minutes, building into a clubby techno raver that also features some jazzy brush strokes by sax player Adrien Roch and a slow-motion theme that burns at track's center. In the pumping “Rocco Vision” mix of “Bora,” SF writer Alain Damasio can be heard pontificating in French on matters of creation while Rocco (Rodamaal) stokes a blazing house treatment that's a wonder to behold. On the digital tip, the sparkling album cut “Belleville” gets a nicely-grooving, schaffel-styled makeover from Clara Moto and Tyler Pope (bass player for !!! and LCD Soundsystem), after which Rocco returns with a “Dub Vision” mix of “Bora” that, sans voice-over, roars just as magnificently as the other.

Aufgang's four-track EP Sonar is a different meal altogether, obviously due in part to the trio's instrumental make-up: two grand pianos and drums as played by “Juilliard Three” Francesco Tristano, Rami Khalifé, and Cassius drummer Aymeric Westrich. True to its name, Aufgang (“stairway”) pursues ever-ascending climbs in the two originals included here, “Sonar” and “Barok,” while ceding the stage to Spitzer and Krazy Baldhead in two show-stopping remixes. Though dense syncopated piano clusters do power the ever-intensifying “Sonar,” the track also expands upon its acoustic persona by including streams of synthesizers alongside its clangorous chords and techno swing. “Barok,” on the other hand, focuses on the group's acoustic side by giving the spotlight to the two pianists alone. Lyon-based Spitzer makes a strong impression with a classy house treatment of “Sonar” while Krazy Baldhead makes ravishing mincemeat of “Chanel 7” by hot-wiring it with electro-heat and a deliciously poppy blend of hip-hop and dance beats. Though an appetizer only, Sonar augurs well for the trio's upcoming album.

May 2009