Akufen - My Way (Force Inc.)
By Mark Pytlik
Although always regarded as a solid contributor from within Montreal's esteemed tech community...
...Marc Leclair (aka Akufen) had yet to deliver a career-changing record. If there is any justice left on Earth (and that, granted, is tempting fate), the jaw-dropping 'My Way' will change all of that.
Consider what the bastard offspring of 'Uprock Narratives / Vocal Studies' and 'Closer to the Edit' might sound like and you've got a decent approximation of what we're talking about here. In essence, 'My Way' is a garden variety of immaculately snipped samples (culled from AM to FM without discrimination) shook up in a paper bag and painstakingly assembled, DNA-style, onto the spine of a relentlessly chugging Techno 4/4. Figure in some positively rolling basslines and enough sampledelic curveballs (acoustic guitar codas, classical piano rolls, funked-out guitar jangles, truncated vocals) and you've got the blueprint for what is, hands down, one of the year's finest dance records.
By virtue of Leclair's meticulous production (and, let's be honest, it takes hard work to make something sound this easy) 'My Way' doesn't really unfold as much as it completely unravels. Virtually every track here flirts with what we can only call an odd sort of organized chaos. The standout may just well be album centrepiece 'Deck The House', which braids a dizzying melange of austere clips into a beautiful, driving swirl. Elsewhere, the rolling funk of the effortless 'Jeep Sex' instantly recalls the halcyon days of a pre-vocoder Daft Punk. In short, pure joy.
It's hard to think of any record in recent memory that has so devilishly flirted with such completely random elements and not sacrificed at least a bit of its accessibility. Hard to know where Leclair might go with the next record, to be honest, but for now, this'll do quite nicely.