Fran Von Vie has already made two memorable appearances on Sudbeat, first with Masters-Series-highlight ‘Wake Me Up When Everything Has Changed’ at the start of the year, and then with one of my favourites from the Sudbeats compilation, ‘I Can’t Get Enough’. The label’s last release of 2013 sees him return with two housier numbers, ‘High Monsters’ and ‘Lonely Nights’, which like ‘Wake Me Up…’ feature Cio May on vocals. Remixes come courtesy of Uner and Deaf Pillow.
First out of the gate is my least favourite of the tracks, ‘High Monsters’, which immediately builds a warming vibe with cool synth licks complementing a heavy bassline. But after I while I just didn’t find the ideas all that engaging, and wasn’t keen on Cio May’s disembodied, heavily-treated vocals. The third breakdown improves things, adding in some techier stabs and a rippling melody. But overall, this was a miss for me.
Even though I wasn’t keen on the original, hotly-tipped Spanish producer Uner’s remix of ‘High Monsters’ is the highlight of the package. Starting with a simple breakbeat and insistent chime, the remix gets going properly after a minute when the housier percussion picks up, and then it sparsely and efficiently builds towards The Breakdown with a cool vocal sample and sporadic retro-sounding bass tones. The breakdown, the breakdown – this one’s all about the breakdown. Clocking in at around three minutes, the bass starts to play out a an ever-intensifying sequence over gentle breaks, before M83-style pads, a rolling synth-line, and propulsive stabs rise up. The stabs take over as the beat hits again, the track otherwise emptying aside from periodic waves of sound. Uner’s been picked out as one to watch recently, and if this is anything to go by, quite rightly so; this is utterly irresistible stuff.
Fran Von Vie’s second original is ‘Lonely Nights’, and this time round I’m totally on board. This is moody and somber, with somewhat murky bass and perscussion, wistful vocals from Cio May, and a cool disco-flavoured hook that weaves its way through the track. Better still, the second half introduces some seriously lovely floating pads and chimes, which work really well with the other elements of the track. This is a terrific slice of deep-house.
I first encountered Deaf Pillow earlier this year when I heard their great version of Jimmy Van M & Luxor T’s ‘Like U’, and their take on Fran Von Vie is even better. Their version of ‘Lonely Nights’ plays up the disco-tinged and floaty elements of the original, grafting them onto a subtle but hypnotic tech-house workout, while using clips from the vocals sparingly but effectively. Brilliant mood-setting warm-up gear from the Deaf Pillow guys here, which compliments the original very nicely.
Overall this is a great release, despite my reservations about the first track. Uner’s remix provides the high point for sure, but both versions of ‘Lonely Nights’ are well worth checking out too. A nice way for Sudbeat to close out the year. 8/10