I speak two languages, English and bad English. My D in GCSE French allows me to ask where the nearest club is and order breakfast. Not any specific items, just le petit dejeuner. As a result I'm missing out on a part of Renart's Petits Charmes EP. The title track coming in two flavours, an instrumental and Petits Charmes (Le Poeme)- which even my awful French knows means "The poem".
So, the poem itself could be awful, but what definitely isn't is the the music behind the softly spoken French woman.
It must have taken all of 30 seconds of the dripping tap opening to the first track on this EP for my fingers to start skipping across my keyboard to find more music by Renart. That in itself says a lot. This sort of downtempo techno is a funny old beast but when it is good it is sensational. This is sensational.
Renart seems obsessed with the whimsical and the mythical. His Facebook page is filled with references to mythical creatues such as the "Vouivre", the French for Wyvern (cheers wikipedia!), a dragon like creature with a pair of wings but no arms. And from start to finish this EP has a depth and warmth to it that wraps you up and takes you off to a fairytale land where Vouivre fly. The production is first class, creating a sumptuous sound. I'm hypnotised, sucked into the music with each track building gently, ebbing and flowing. I'm drafting this review on the bus with my headphones on but close my eyes and I feel as though I've been transported far far and away.
The final track, Conte D'Ete (A Summer's Tale) is the total stand-out here. It builds and slowly and gently with a powerful bassy beat before it eventually breaking down. When it does a small child starts talking in French, some strings kick in, a clap, bass. Then the beat returns and a child starts wordlessly singing, "la la la", putting me in mind of the excellent Dusted (Rollo from Faithless) album; Safe From Harm.
This really is a beautiful record and one that has placed Renart firmly on my radar. If this production is anything to go by Dawn Records have a potentially huge star on their hands. If you like your electronic music deep and smart, waste no time, get this EP.