Founding member of DJ and producer collective Jazzanova Alex Barck goes heavy on the vocals together with mood-morphing synths on debut album Reunion which has tender moments among more club-friendly tunes. He’s called in fellow Sonar Kollektiv artists and other guests to give emotional depth to the lyrics which ensures this is charming first LP from a man who has been DJing for 20 years – you can tell he loves his music.
Opener ‘Doubter’ is the first of three tracks featuring Swedish singer Jonatan Bäckelie, aka Ernesto, a poignant introduction to the album as Ernesto gives a haunting cry over a subtle blend of piano and soft beats. Their collaboration on ‘Don’t Hold Back’ brings a pop/house crossover with layered vocals and uplifting strings. Their third track on the album, ‘We Get High’, is an end-of-the-night epic that is sure to become a favourite at underground venues.
Elsewhere, ‘Oh Africa’ features native Maloya and Séga sounds that Barck discovered at his weekly residency at Potiron’s in Saint Denis. Together with Christine Salem’s sultry vocals, the tune has an organic feel which flows throughout the album helping to seduce your ears. ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Automatic Systematique’ are more jacking while Pete Josif, vocalist in The White Lamp, guests on ‘Re-Set’ and ‘Spinning Around’ for dreamy moments. Fellow Sonar Kollectiv acts FETSUM appear on ‘Why & How’ and Stee Downes on ‘Like A Drug’, both slightly twisted but inkeeping with the comforting melodies.
There is much to admire with Barck’s Reunion. He took his time in compiling the tunes and found the right vocalists, however it would be a shame if he takes as long again to follow up this solid debut.