wo highly anticipated releases on the same day has given us plenty to talk about this week, with Madeon's album Good Faith dropping alongside Raka, a dual project from Golden Features & The Presets on November 15th. With so many points floating around it makes sense killing two birds with one stone. So to save you some time and energy, here are our 60 second reviews of both special releases.
Madeon; Good Faith
French producer Madeon’s second album doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights that his debut LP Adventure achieved upon its release in 2015. Adventure stood out as the perfect blend of dance and pop. It’s bevy of features were complemented by truly unique production blend that stands true to this day. By comparison, Good Faith feels largely washed out and directionless, consumed by swelling synths that give no clear hint of the direction Madeon intended on taking.
The album is decidedly more poppy, although not in a good way. Madeon could once make music that was instantly recognisable, although with Good Faith he mostly fails to rekindle that same kind of uniqueness. His voice is deployed with greater frequency across the LP, but his lack of vocal range seriously hampers his ability to craft sounds around it with enough variety.
The record still has its moments where Madeon sounds like he is at least matching the kind of grandiosity and excitement of Adventure, but they remain fleeting. No Fear No More is a nice, if not amazing song that channels Madeon of old. Mania and Miracle also, show that Leclerq still possesses the ability to craft punchy and bright pop/dance crossovers, but as is the case on Good Faith this is hardly achieved in totality across a whole song, let alone an album.
When an artist announces a change of direction fans are always faced with the emotional quandary of whether to feel excitement or trepidation. The three singles that Leclerq released in the lead up to Good Faith’s launch only compounded the uncertainty about whether his sophomore album would be ruled by delight or disappointment. With the majority of Good Faith, it is the latter. Leclerq might feel like he wants to make this type of music more, but he made the old stuff better.
Verdict - 5.8/10
The Presets & Golden Features; Raka
It’s a pairing that few would have seen coming. The Presets, being one of the Australian electronic scenes true enduring acts, and Golden Features. A comparatively fresh-faced producer that is one of only a handful of artists in this country to receive international recognition in recent years.
RAKA sees the two acts deliver a brooding EP in which their contrasting styles merge perfectly over three (well four) songs. Title track RAKA emerges head and shoulders above the rest as not just the soundest song on the EP, but the one which most effectively couples the production styles of both artists.
Paradise is woozy and moody in all the right ways, skittish vocals from Presets singer Julian Jackson complement the still evolving beat creation of Golden Features with still unexpected success. Control is more uncompromising and brutish, the abrasive saw-like nature of the lead synth sits as an aberration in a song which contains some of Golden Features’ most complex production yet. The lyrics are Jackson’s best on the whole EP.
The aptly titled final track The End ‘apparently’ draws influence from the dark techno stylings of French legend Gesaffelstein, which after numerous listens still seems to be a somewhat wishful comparison. An unexpected change in direction from the other three songs on the EP, time will ultimately judge its real merits, although the jury remains out here.
Judgment on the final song aside, RAKA is still an impressive EP from some of the best Australia has to offer. These songs will undoubtedly feature in both the Presets set at Habitat this weekend, and Golden Features long-anticipated feature in the Origin Fields tent come new years eve. We can’t quite say which one we're more excited for, but hopefully this EP is the beginning of a strong collaborative trend within the Australian electronic scene.
Verdict - 7.3/10
Two largely different pieces with their own sets of merits and faults, no matter which side you stand on there's no denying today has been a good day for electronic music. With plenty of time left for these new pieces to settle, there'll no doubt be much more discussion to be had once the dust has cleared.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out each of the releases, and as always, we'll see you next time.