Jacques Greene – The Look EP review

Breaking out in a huge way, Canadian producer Jacques Greene has impressed a swathe of fans and tastemakers almost overnight. Despite being a mere 21 years old, his delicately euphoric beats have already been picked up by Night Slugs for their recent All-Stars Vol.1 compilation – providing the stand-out “(Baby I Don’t Know) What You What” – and have also been hyped by Mary Anne Hobbs (on her last ever Radio 1 show). Rinse FM, Hud Mo, Floating Points and Ben UFO have all shown him love, and now with this first EP on Glasgow’s LuckyMe, it won’t be long before you’re in the fanclub too.

While he joins James Blake in wearing his unabashed love of R&B on his sleeve, Greene’s tunes are still rooted in house – deep Chicago hooks, acid synths and post-garage beats all abound here. Title tune “The Look” is the most glossy of the set – chopping and subtly pitch-shifting vocal lines into something truly anthemic, while basslines and synths pop and gurgle over a clap-based drum track. With Greene’s arrangement skills shining through, the tune progresses beautifully and succeeds in sounding both familiar (in a 90s garage way) yet also completely fresh.

“Good Morning” however goes into a Detroit zone, fully loaded with tweaked enveloping pads, jacked-up beats and just the right amount of piano – again all arranged so well that there’s never a dull moment. On a future-funky tip, “Holdin’ On” layers snapping percussion and garage-patterned beats on top of subtle vocal chops and more epic pads, while the slower “Tell Me” sports a hypnotic arpeggio that’ll bore its way into your cerebellum after just a few minutes listening. Never a dull moment over the entire EP, thanks largely to a spot-on choice of vintage-meets-future instrumentation, Greene has really set his stall out ready for 2011.

Oliver Keens