Ah, new music Tuesday. It's always exciting to note what new albums come out on any given Tuesday, especially so early into the new year. While today may be a particularly slow day in the American market, one French artist has released some of 2009's finest work to date. The man in question is Pierre-Alexandre Busson, better known as Yuksek. His album Away from the Sea is, without a doubt, one of my favorites of 2009. It is pure, perfect electronic dance music -- splashed with spot-on guest vocals, a frenetic opening, and impressively sophisticated instrumentation. For one dude armed with just some vintage keyboards, his trusty FX board, and his laptop, Busson is able to unleash an ungodly mix of disco-riffic beats, post-punk drums and all-around groovy synths.
Away from the Sea starts off with five solid songs, starting with the staccato, crumbling beats of "Break Ya" on through the hyper-cocky, ultra-swanky "Extraball" featuring the vocals of Amanda Blank -- whom I like to refer to as "DJ bait," having lent her cocky, go-fuck-yourself vocals to the likes of Steve Aoki, Spank Rock, N.A.S.A., and Diplo. I wish Yuksek would have slammed all the club bangers towards the front of the album, but I understand that you have to spread them out for artistic effect. It's no skin off my back -- I usually lump all the faster, more dance-worthy songs into my own special playlist.
Yuksek was thrust into my consciousness once I heard the track "Tonight," the lead single off the album. That fucker invaded my brain and settled down for a nice two-month stay, forcing me to constantly listen to it so as not to become boring or out of touch with what makes a perfect electro/techno song. Yuksek tweaked the track for the album, and it fits in even better with the flow of the surrounding songs. However, Away from the Sea reaches levels of pure, unadulterated electronic dance-music bliss once "So Down" clicks on. The track features the vocals of Dave 1 from Chromeo, and he lends his sexy, sleazy attitude to the song, propelling it into places unknown. It's insanely irresistible and solidifies the album's presence as a serious competitor to Simian Mobile Disco's Attack Decay Sustain Release, perhaps even outdoing that particular album in some places. While Attack Decay rests comfortably in the pantheon of European electronic dance music, Away from the Sea proves the widespread influence that album had.
Yuksek isn't always firing on all cylinders, as evidenced by "So Far Away From The Sea" and the silly "Eat My Bear." The latter track provides a nice insult to yell at pretty ladies or good- looking fellows as you drive by them. Just try yelling "eat my bear" at someone and see what reaction you will get. Insult-inspiring or not, Away from the Sea fulfills my electro/techno needs for 2009 so far, until Little Boots releases her debut album. Give it a listen and you will not be disappointed in the least bit, especially if you are a fan of the genre.
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Moment of Divine Electro-Goodness: 1:39 into the track "Dirty Little Trip (Vicarious Bliss Remix)."
Surprisingly Mellow, yet Astonishingly Funky: The track "Freak O Rocker"
Away from the Sea is out now on Polydor. Visit Yuksek's official site here. Check out his myspace for a nice preview of the album, including snippets from all the songs in one magnificent eight-minute track.