SQware: Depart EP
Process Recordings

SQware's Depart sneaks up on you, in part because the so-called EP has forty-one minutes at its disposal to do so. Even so, the four originals and remix that appear on the release (more mini-album than EP) by SQware duo Yannick Deglin and Jean-Baptiste Lapeyre get under your skin through the sheer force of their pulsating arpeggios and sleek motorik grooves. The duo, who first made contact via an internet music forum in 2001 and issued their debut EP SQueeze It To The Last Drop on the German label Broque in 2008, don't allow geographic distance to affect their collaboration—Deglin lives in Strasbourg while Lapeyre calls Paris home—as they, like many other contemporary producers, ship files back and forth through the ether with one producer refining a given track's rhythmic part and the other its melodic fabric. Though its material draws upon a number of styles, Depart most naturally invites the label space disco for its combination of ultra-synthetic melodic lines and techno-pop sheen.

The first sounds one hears in “Départ” are an ethereal choir and synth swirls, elements that portend just how trippy the track will become at full flight. Here and elsewhere, Deglin and Lapeyre show themselves to be fervent modernists in their embrace of a chrome-plated electronic style. No discernible acoustic sounds invade resolutely synthetic tracks that pulsate with skipping electronic beats and chiming melodies. Off-beat percussive accents lend “Kaese” a slightly funkier edge that grows more appealing as it gets slinkier, but the release's high point is clearly the middle track, “1987,” which wends its funky way for a dozen oft-euphoric minutes (Hybu—real name Etienne Gimenez-Fauvety—later contributes a languorous “1987” remix that's satisfying in its own right but inarguably no match for the original). Bubbly and effervescent, the tune feels like its on a never-ending ascent, as bright synths gleefully swizzle and jacking beats gallop with single-minded determination.

October 2010