Signal Deluxe: Motyl

Motyl (Polish for “butterfly”) presents twelve cosmic jams by Signal Deluxe (Mexican DJs and self-described “ futuristic groove alchemists ” Valeria and Jerga) with contrasting vocal contributions from Grace and MC Rekkler the cherries on top. The tracks' intricate electronic design suggests Signal Deluxe might be thought of as a Mexico-based Funkstörung (circa Appetite for Disctruction), and there's certainly no questioning Signal Deluxe's fearless attack when the clubby tracks weave hip-hop, electro, soul, funk, grime, acid, and techno into a dizzying mix. Adding to the album' feverish vibe, each song flows into the next, making Motyl feel more like a breathless fifty-four minute club set than home listening album. Though Signal Deluxe's material exudes a heavily-programmed feel, there's also a pronounced live dimension too, with “real” guitars (Page), basses (JC, Jerga), and keyboards (Valeria) key parts of the instrumental mix. Grace's soulful singing also elevates the material whenever she appears while MC Rekkler favours a rapid-fire delivery that'll leave you scrambling to keep up.

“Hide N Seek” stands out for melodic hooks (“Once upon a time it was hide n seek and now I've found you lying on my knees” ) that manage to be heard over the music's synthetic throb, while “Golden Arrow,” “Plush,” “Mind,” and “Water Mirror” leave their mark with electro-soul, throbbing android funk, acidy machine grooves, and futuristic electro-dub respectively. Motyl's only downside is the filthy spew that occasionally rolls off his tongue (though admittedly taken out of context, a line like “I have a different fucking girl every day of the week” from “Change of Heart” is hardly endearing) which sometimes spoils the group's otherwise appealing meal with a sour aftertaste. Aside from that, the material's density threatens to overwhelm when every track's a multi-layered construction of nonstop vocal and instrumental sound, and one longs for a moment of restraint or a break in the album's uptempo makeup (something “True Style” provides to a modest degree, as does “Lunes” when it backs Rekkler's voice with uncluttered bass and drum support ) . Even so, there's still lots to like about the energy, imagination, and enthusiasm Signal Deluxe brings to its first full-length recording.

November 2008