Some of electronic music’s most consistent labels of recent years have traded on the interplay between dark and light, alternating between releases that chill the blood, dumb the senses and soothe the soul. Top of the list is arguably Quentin Vandewalle’s Antinote, whose releases are getting increasingly hard to predict. On one hand, you have the murky, industrial-influenced electronics of Nico Motte, the spaced-out synthesizer experiments of Stephane Laporte and the murky techno rhythms of Iueke; on the other, the humid, tribal-influenced tropical compositions of Albino and the shimmering, rave-era rush of Geena. It’s as if Vandewalle is a man of schizophrenic tastes; half of him wants to embrace misery, the other half run down Parisian streets naked, while feeling the love-for-all effects of particularly strong MDMA.
It’s an approach that has thus far proved successful, with exceptional releases in each of these two distinct camps. Arguably the strongest case for the label’s soft centre has been made by Parisian producer D.K, whose 2014 album, Drop, was one of last year’s more enjoyable debut sets. Unfeasibly melodious, colourful and humid, with distinct nods to the new age influences embraced by Future Times, Mood Hut and 1080p, it marked its maker out as a man unashamed by his love for rush-inducing positivity. It portrayed D.K as a man with a permanent smile on his face, laying down music capable of almost overwhelming listeners with melodious intent. Even at its’ most melancholy, it was a joyful record.
Love On Delivery, his first release since, feels similarly giddy – as if D.K has spent the last 12 months in a punch drunk, loved-up state. It’s full of rich, warm, dreamy pads, colourful melodies, huggable grooves and ricocheting drum machine hits. Once, it would have been described as nu-disco or nu-Balearica, but both genre tags seem tarnished by years of second-rate releases and cheap, copycat productions. Perhaps a new sub-genre tag is in order? Certainly, there’s a Balearic boogie feel to the cheery melodies, enveloping pads, delay-laden, proto house-influenced beats and cascading strings of the heart-achingly beautiful “Licence To Dream”. The same could arguably be said about the stupendously picturesque “Softest Place”, which recalls the similarly yearning electronics, overwhelming tunefulness and curiously bittersweet feel of Andras Fox’s best work.
Elsewhere, though, the deep house influence is stronger. While still blessed with magenta-pink synthesizers and lucid, kaleidoscopic chords, “Whatever Turns You On” comes packaged with the sort of hustling, forthright beats that recall Future Times artists Protect-U and Maxmillion Dunbar. Best of all, though, is “Marimba Theme”, whose grandiose opening chords and reverb-heavy synthesized saxophone sounds owe much to 808 State’s Balearic house classic “Pacific”. Shorn of that track’s familiarity, D.K’s production feels fresh and invigorating, with slowly hissing cymbals, squeezable synth bass and delicately programmed percussion bringing the best out of his instinctively colourful melodies. It might be a little over-the-top to call it a future classic, but it certainly sounds like the kind of track you’ll be returning to – especially when you need an audible pick-me-up – in years to come.
A1. Licence To Dream
A2. Marimba Theme
B1. What Ever Turns You On
B2. Softest Place