Chloé: The Waiting Room
Kill The DJ

Instead of stacking her album with one dance track after another, Paris-based DJ and producer Chloé (Thevenin) presents her first electronic album, The Waiting Room, as more of a sonic conceptual whole. The international DJ and current Academy of Music student in Paris, who has issued material on renowned labels like Karat, Gomma, and BPitch Control, deserves credit for boldly venturing beyond established dance territory, even if her ambitious reach sometimes exceeds her grasp.

That she's hunting wilder game is apparent from the moment the title track, a wistful overture of electronic sparkle, begins, and from then on the trip ranges widely, with longer cuts interspersed with fleeting experiments (“Common Cello,” “Dead End,” “Womb to Tomb”) before closing the set with “The Door,” a ponderous outro assembled from breathy vocals, acoustic guitar, and haunted electronic noises. Along the way, Thevenin alternates between the kind of gothic electro-minimalism one might expect to hear and songs that depart dramatically from the template. On the one hand, then, we get dark slabs of sensual mood music like the techno track “I Want You,” while, on the other, we get electroacoustic vocal settings like “Beneath the Underground.” In addition, suggestive of a predictably splitting, morning-after headache, “It's Sunday” weds a raw, guitar-blistered stomp to a breathy voiceover, and “Brashov,” with its live drum punch, has the feel of a live jam, though the ghostly smattering of voices and electro-synths suggests a more methodical approach to construction. Wending farthest astray, Chloé channels Robert Johnson for “Around the Clock,” a bold stab at a laid-back, acoustic blues that satisfies less than the dancier material (though the song's horn writing does impress).

Chloé's straight-up dance cuts exude a sleek Euro vibe that recalls Ellen Allien while the feverish minimal style and surging locomotion of “Suspended” and “Over the Dose” suggest a kinship with Audion. That the album's best piece is perhaps “Be Kind to Me,” which merges a sleek Detroit-meets-Berlin night-time ambiance with a locomotive chug and police siren-like synth flares, is telling. Chloé's stylistic ambitiousness is laudable but, on The Waiting Room at least, it's the dance material that showcases her talents most convincingly.

October 2007