Review: Although he's flirted with other labels - most notably Claremont 56 and NuNorthern Soul - Blair French usually saves his best work for Peter Croce and Moonlighter's Rocksteady Disco imprint. Here he returns to that label's loving arms with his first full-length excursion in six years, a vibrant, atmospheric and musically mixed-up set that we think is his single greatest release to date. Starting with the extra-percussive, dub disco goes Afro-house heaviness of opener 'Faded By The Sun', highlights come thick and fast throughout. Our current favourites include the Afro-beatdown trip that is 'Stay Detroit', the jazzy downtempo grooves and spoken word vocals of 'Deep Tissue', the celebratory Balearic disco loveliness of 'Honey Rooftops', and the Hammond heavy Afro-funk cheeriness of 'Genes'.
Review: Blair French has dropped his second single this year and there were initially only 300 copies on vinyl! Following "Standing Still Is An Illusion" on Rocksteady Disco come two more sublime Balearic affairs that fit Claremont 56 like a snug pair of speedos; "Sandbar Caviar" wafts and sways with island waves as gentle arpeggios ebb and flow creating harmonies and cosmic textures while "Inland Island" adjusts our seats to a horizontal position with its snaking bassline and spacious percussion gradually opening into a heavenly vocal and guitar lead that's tantamount to transcendental.
Review: Blair French has spent much of his career sidestepping lazy stereotyping, successfully turning his hand to all manner of downtempo and club-friendly styles. This fine EP for Rocksteady Disco sees the Detroit-based producer exploring some of his global influences in three different ways. Opener "Standing Still is an Illusion", where glistening guitars, rich electric bass and fluid hand percussion combine with drum machine beats and impassioned vocals, is a brilliantly warm and sunny fusion of Balearic disco charm and organic Afro-house grooves. These African influences are explored further on the dense, tribal style thrust of "Ayiba I Yeri O", before he whips his shirt off and heads for the Rio carnival on the equally percussive "Pagode Americano".
Review: On previous full-length excursions - including a number of superb soundtracks to documentaries and independent films - Blair French used the Dial 81 alias. Here, the Detroit-based producer finally breaks cover, delivering a set of typically evocative ambient, experimental and downtempo electronica tracks for Delsin. Seemingly capable of teasing great beauty from droning textures, soft-focus samples and perfectly placed piano lines, French is clearly a talented producer. Through The Blinds makes for superb listening as a result, thanks in no small part to a succession of tracks that don't try too hard for attention. Melodious and blissful, but occasionally unsettling, French's take on ambient is up there with the best the genre has to offer.