While Amsterdam-based DJ Patrice Baumel has tasted success before, with the kick drum-less “Roar” for Get Physical, his debut album looks set to propel him from the ranks of resident to international guest. Released on the Trouw label, an outlet set up by the Dam club where he resides, Vapour is presented as a seamless DJ mix, but as it consists solely of original material, thankfully avoids the predictable big tunes and lazy programming the format is often guilty of. It also offers a beginning, middle and end, but never forgoes subtlety.
“Birth” kickstarts the album with bursts of dry ice percussion and tense basslines, creating a sense of expectation. The soaring strings of “Lovers”, followed by the “The Tease”, whose melodies sound like a cross between 90s Dutch house and Detroit techno dreaminess, evoke more emotive feelings, while the detuned riffs and pumping bass on “Panic” and the stripped back “To Insanity and Beyond” show Baumel can play harder when required. However, the real appeal of Vapour is the blurring of lines and influences, like the way the woozy techno of “Tactile” flows into organic ambience or the playfulness of the out of tune “Sub” – which is included on Apparat’s new DJ-Kicks mix. It’s this unpredictability that marks Baumel out as a loose cannon and makes Vapour a breath of fresh air.