Kris Menace - Idiosyncrasies

Kris Menace doesn't fit easily into the current spectrum of dance music. His inspiration, it says here, is 80s Italo Disco, but one might more easily identify the influence of artists such as Giorgio Moroder and Tangerine Dream. Rather than a proper album, Idiosyncrasies is a three disc, inexhaustive overview of his career so far, featuring both his own productions and remixes for others.

What stands out most is Menace's preference for relatively low BPM. Even his best known track, 2005's Discopolis, lacks the big drum builds you might expect from an Ibiza anthem. The focus is instead on synths, which he uses to paint a warm, blissful sound. It's on Jupiter, an exercise in perfect dancefloor tension, reaching a true MDMA-esque peak, that these find best expression. Scaler is also worthy of singling out as an atypically sweaty, techno-styled number built around a series of ascending riffs.

Elsewhere, Menace is unafraid to dabble in uncool. You might expect an epic track that features squally 80s guitar over synths to be naff, yet Fairlight pt. 1 & pt. 2 somehow manages to enthrall. There's certainly some strange irony in a remix of Robbie Williams' She's Madonna being better than one of LCD Soundsystem's North American Scum. (It's all down to that Kraftwerkian synth.) In truth, though, remixes don't seem to suit Menace well, with most tracks reduced to a mid-tempo plod. The main exception is his take on Underworld's Ring Road, which bears a striking resemblance to The Chemical Brothers' Out of Control and thus is rather wonderful.

Away from the mind-blowing stuff, Idiosyncrasies tends towards the samey and mediocre. Most of disc two sounds like incidental music from a "night spot" scene in Neighbours. Still, filler is perhaps to be expected on such a collection, and there is a smattering enough of excellence to recommend this to electronica fans.

Overall

7

out of 10

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