Cedric Gervais: Experiment

Experiment, the debut artist album from Marseilles-born and Miami 's Club Space resident Cedric Gervais, weaves hard-hitting electro, house, and tribal funk into twelve dizzying cuts. Though the album opens at a generally thunderous level and largely stays there for the next fifty minutes, it maintains listening interest by exploiting contrasts in song and vocal styles. Tracks like “Bang,” “Sky,” and “Electro Therapy” are, fittingly, exercises in delirium while Gervais namechecks a cadre of influences and friends in “Respect” (Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Roger Sanchez, Laurent Garnier, Satoshie Tomie, Frankie Knuckles, etc.). He smartly mixes things up with some discerning guest choices, like Caroline (Maria Matto) whose soaring vocal on “Spirit In My Life” smoothens the tune's raving electro-stomp. She also graces “Fire,” an almost too-bald Everything But The Girl imitation (specifically Walking Wounded and Temperamental) with a more-than-passable Tracey Thorn impersonation. In like manner, “Halfway Love” could pass for a Depeche Mode dance remix, in no small part due to the similarity in vocal style between Dave Gahan and Antoine Toupin, who appears alongside Second Sun partner Adam Cavaluzi on three Experiment tracks (“Pills” weds a chugging electro-house bounce with bold voice edits and “Touch” closes the album in a loping electro-trip-hop blaze). Experiment may wear its influences a little too openly on its sleeve, but it also can't be dismissed as one-dimensional.

December 2006