Fin, Talabot's classic house and modern music mix has both an urban and knowing sensibility that produces dance all over my body. Nevertheless, a subtle play on what is fast becoming the most creative space for the future.
Never tell John Talabot his music's cozy. In a recent interview with Juno Plus,
the Barcelona-based producer expressed confusion over many of the
labels applied to the music that has made him such a presence in
electronic music over the last few years—"tropical" being the most
obvious. He insists that he always thought of his productions as kind of
shadowy. It's an interesting objection because you can hear what he's
saying: There's always been a sly melancholy, a kind of sonic withdrawal
and itchy discomfort, to Talabot's material that belies the shimmer at
Regardless of how you view these timbres though—and, clearly, one man's beachbum anthem is another's depressive tearbait—Talabot's been omnipresent in sets, mixes and compilations for about three years now. Across well-caned favorites like "Sunshine," "Matilda's Dream" and "Families" on labels like Permanent Vacation, Young Turks and Spain's Hivern Discs, Talabot's established his own brand of sandy haired electronica that owes as much to the jumpy Balearic strains of fellow Spaniards like Delorean and Hamburg microscopic deep house as they do to the melodic swellings of early to mid-00 heavies like Kompakt and Get Physical.
Marked by his keen sense of songcraft, Talabot's tunes are just as good (if not better) for country day strolls or evening reading than peak night hedonism. And with his debut album, fIN, finally arriving on Permanent Vacation, it's obvious from the outset that he's constructed a fifty-odd minute piece of music as cohesive and narrative-oriented as some of the best electronic full-lengths of the last few years. There are stepbacks and detours—the ambient whirl of "H.O.R.S.E." and the garbled dystopic blur of "Last Land"—that lend moments of sonic reprieve against the album's heartiest tracks. Fellow Spaniard and recent Permanent Vacation standout Pional turns up on the sultry vocal-bent house of "Destiny," with its brief lapses into bell-laced ambience that almost resemble Pantha du Prince, while "Depak Ine" opens with brief night calls—birds, frogs, all manner of cries unseen—before slipping into an eclipse of pitch-shifted vocal blurs and fuzzy synth blurts (surely one of the songs Talabot had in mind when referring to the album's blacker hues).
From The Guardian:
Barcelona house producer John Talabot has a knack for capturing the very specific kind of bliss associated with dancing on Mediterranean beaches at the height of summer. A penchant for rising chords means that all his melodies make you feel like raising your arms and face to the sun. Talabot also has arguably the greatest sense of build-and-release in dance music since prime Booka Shade: ƒin is full of incredible tension-releasing moments, from the extended break in Destiny to the entrance of Missing You's bouncing bass. The generosity of Talabot's sound can also be ascribed to the amount of disparate ingredients he puts to use in service of his aesthetic – particularly the variety of human voices on display. There are wordless chants and bright, optimistic pop hooks; an echoing scream is plucked from a horror film and deposited in the middle of a carnival on Oro y Sangre, while on So Will Be Now, cut-up vocals coalesce gradually and gorgeously into recognisable language. All of humanity seems to be here – and it's busy celebrating being alive.
From Pretty Much Amazing:
The Catalan producer hails from a sound stable saddled with the early moniker ‘Balearic’, named for the collaborations conjured up between he and his Basque country brethren – check out his shimmering remix of Delorean’s “Sunshine,” and his mate from Madrid, Pional’s many vocals on Fin. His oozy, woozy take on ambient house evokes the sun sinking below Barcelona’s rooftops, so effortlessly captured in his EP Families - yet save for the song titles, somewhat surprisingly there’s no Spanish on the album.
But for all the deliciousness and delicacy, the record is interlaced with moments of darkness – something Talabot is determined to cling to. ‘Why am I always tagged as house, or tropical or happy music when I’m making dark tracks? ’, he said in this interview. ‘I don’t understand’.
Perhaps that’s why opening track “Depak Ine” begins in the way that it does, with a haunting jungle-like atmosphere where the skittering hoots and hollers of unseen wild beasts are offset by a pounding rhythmic drumbeat. This seven minute extravaganza fully immerses the listener into the record as layer upon layer is gently spliced together, until all the slivers make up a complex, melodic slice of sound. It’s an method that’s equally well wielded on album closer “So Will Be Now,” that cuts samples of Pional’s vocal with a groovy, bouncy bass and tight finger-clicks.
Better at layering than any fashion editor, is Talabot. In the same Red Bull interview, Talabot admits he likes to sample – ‘it’s something more creative’, and this is exemplified on ”Last Land.” There are sounds you recognize and yet can’t place – it’ll make you gurn in that desperation to identify it – rounded off by a sequence that recalls Arabian Nights, all twinkly bells and twisted synths.