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D’Marc Cantu – Fallen review

If Traxx is Jakbeat’s front-man and Tadd ‘James T Cotton’ Mullinix its maverick genius, what role does D’Marc Cantu play? Unlike Traxx, he isn’t adept at providing controversial sound bites and, leaving aside his collaborations with both Mullinix and Traxx, he’s not as prolific as Mullinix, putting out just six solo EPs over the past five years.

But listening to Fallen, it is clear that Cantu embodies all of what Jak is about. There are eerie, synth-led grooves like “Transmogrification” and the title track, where the typical jacking approach is replaced by tumbling drums and hypnotic pulses. Then there are the more visceral jams like “Stand Up” and “Oh My”, which consist of solely of tonal bleeps and splurging, distorted basslines, the kind of aggressive workouts that feature in Traxx’s sets – albeit pushed up into the red.

In other places, Cantu returns to the genesis of Chicago house music, and some of the tracks have a basic, primal feeling. In particular, “I Want to Ride” and “Shoot the Fish” are built on not much more than a pulsing bass, tinny percussion and dank drums, but the end result is a powerful one, like Ron Hardy at his most freaked out.

But Cantu’s flirtations with the over-ground leave the most lasting impressions here. “The Power” is strangely catchy as a muffled vocal is fused with a gurgling acid line, “A New Night” has a gloriously reflective sense of melancholia and “Say It & It’s Time” sees Cantu fuse dramatic synth sweeps with a pulsing electro bassline. He may have been Jakbeat’s backroom boy, but Fallen casts him as its prince-in-waiting.

Richard Brophy


Tracklisting:

Side 1:
1. Transmogrification
2. Fallen
3. The Power

Side 2:
1. Stand Up
2. Oh My

Side 3:
1. A New Night
2. I Want To Ride
3. Shoot The Fish

Side 4:
1. Say It & It’s Time
2. Evil Motion