Para One: Epiphanie

It's not so much the originality of Jean-Baptiste de Laubier's Para One music that recommends it but the almost punk-like enthusiasm he brings to Epiphanie's stomping hip-hop, electro, and techno material. In just under an hour, the Paris resident moves from the slamming electro-squiggle of “Piste Bleue” and swizzling dance-floor decapitation of “Turtle Trouble” to the crystalline electro ambiance of “Liege” and hot-wired techno broil of “Dudun-Dun” before heading home with the buoyant electro-techno fusion of “Ski Lesson Blues.” Blinding synths and electro sheen may be the common denominators but Para One is an irrepressibly explorative sort too, one unafraid to reveal an influence or two along the way: an Akufen spirit seems to haunt the stuttering jump-cut raver “Midnight Swim,” the glimmering strut of “F.U.D.G.E.” recalls Daft Punk, and “Les Soleils Artificiels” resembles an imaginary soundtrack excerpt from a lost Chris Marker film. It doesn't all work—French rappers TTC push the manic hip-hop of “Musclor” over the edge, and the diarrheic vocal cut-ups and spasmodic groove in “Def Tea Machine” amount to a diverting experiment but little else—but de Laubier's high-energy delivery more often than not compensates.

October 2006