Folamour burst onto the scene brandishing a style of sample-based house music that revelled in joyous fervour. Now four years on from his hugely successful debut album, 'Umami', the Lyon-hailing DJ has made a huge stylistic about-turn with the release of his third LP, 'The Journey'. We heard glimpses of his new direction on recent singles, ‘Just Want Happiness’ and ‘The Journey’. But with the arrival of his long-awaited follow up to 'Ordinary Drugs', the Frenchman’s new course becomes abundantly clear.
Gone are the creative chops of classic 70s and 80s disco, and in come a whole host of live instruments. From acoustic drum loops, electric guitar licks and a broad array of sumptuous synth sounds, Folamour has gone a long way to prove his extensive musicality.
Album opener, ‘Ono Waterfall’, picks up where Ordinary Drugs left off, laying down a subtle and melancholy groove underpinned by some sparkling piano lines. But all illusions that Folamour living in the past are shattered as the drums of ‘The Journey’ kick in. Using some innovative looping techniques on the vocals of Zimbabwean musician, Zeke Manyika, Folamour creates an infectious pop song replete with a healthy dose of house and techno inflexions.
Much of the album continues in this vein, as Folamour uses his dance sensibilities to craft an album that makes the leap to mainstream commercial appeal. From the Daft Punk inspired collaboration with SG Lewis, ‘Lost In Space’, to the dark R&B grinder, ‘Truth’, it is hard for listeners to not find something they like in this album.
Where Folamour is at his most innovative, however, is in the tracks ‘We Gotta Wake Up This World From Its Sleep’ and ‘My Brother’s Keeper’. Both are more traditional ‘dance’ tracks, but with experimentations in rhythm and some lush synth tones that are fast becoming the DJ’s trademark.
Overall, 'The Journey' exhibits Folamour at a point of transition. Moving into the realm of a composer rather than simply a DJ, the French producer has tapped into a style that will appeal to audiences far and wide.
Words: Ben Miles
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