ƒin, John Talabot
Permanent Vacation, Spain
by Andrew Casillas
Jungle sounds clash with plucked strings clash with electronic claps until wait for it: a beat. John Talabot sees your ambivalence and accusations of rhythmical homogeny and raises your Super Vato funk. But, lest you think he’s only got the versatility of a relief pitcher, Talabot proves over the course of an hour that he’s working with an array of techniques—suck one, Tom Emanski.
ƒin is the culmination of the Barcelona-based producer’s measured rise through the techno ranks over the past half-decade. He’s made acquaintances and worked with a wide variety of artists, such as Delorean and Luke Abbott, while taking a deliberate approach to leaking output under his own name. For his debut full-length, Talabot takes off the slack and lets loose. Disco beats, Middle Eastern strings, head stomping bangers, scuzzy harmonies. It’s Balearic dream house at its most decadent and pleasurable.
So, the majority of folks reading this probably can’t readily distinguish amongst the various forms of techno, and, if you’re in this group, you’re wondering: why should I take my time to listen to this? What distinguishes this from everything else? Well, my beautiful friend, what makes ƒin so special isn’t its reliance on hipster cool (though it is indeed very hip and too cool for school) but rather, it’s all about the soooooongs, man.
At face value, this is one of the most satisfying pop albums of 2012. Even one spin of this record will reveal a bevy of deep, yet eager to please, cuts designed for virtually any listener who will have them. Just listen to the fluorescent '80s-inspired “When the Past was Present” (which honestly sounds like GTA: Vice City if it were about line-dancing), or the indie dream pop of “Journeys” (which sounds a lot like Delorean, which makes sense because that band’s lead singer takes the vocals here), or the strutting lite funk of “Oro y Sangre.”
And for the beatz-knowledgeable, this still hits as hard as you’d want any house record to hit. You can hear the hints of Pantha du Prince backing up “Destiny,” or get your Mount Kimbie fix from “So Will Be Now…,” or if you’re anxious for Real House Music, there’s always the Ibiza-dizzy “Last Land.” Really, the only thing missing is a singular EPIC number—but that’s not really necessary when complimented by such a well-tooled arsenal.
In terms of Iberoamerican beatz, ƒin perfectly fits in with the lineage of instant classics from Matías Aguayo and Rebolledo. Indeed, where Super Vato documents the sort of leather-clad epic night of your dreams, and Ay Ay Ay represents the never-ending rush of an early morning after-party, Talabot serves up the satisfying comedown. The carnival is all packed up and on the road, bottles serve no purpose save as decorations and glass shards, and someone won’t stop complaining about going to work that afternoon. But dammit, it was the best night you’ve had in years, and ain’t no reason you can’t be as bad ass when you head back into the real world as you were when you were escaping it for the past 12 hours. The end.