Boomkat Product Review:
A sublime slice of boogie-funk, Alec Mansion has steadily gained the status of a "crate-digging classic". Accordingly, it has been near-impossible to unearth a physical copy in good condition for many years.
"Originally released in 1983, the LP arrived with impeccable credentials; programming duties were handled by Dan Lacksman (the brains behind Telex, the "Belgian Kraftwerk") whilst production came from Marc Moulin (of jazz-rock fusion heroes Placebo). At the time its merits were mainly praised by radio and studio heads. Today, Mansion's masterpiece is lauded by boogie aficionados from Liege to Los Angeles.
It was during a stay in Chicago that the Belgian took inspiration from the communal spirit and sheer power of black American funk. In a recent interview with Vice's Noisey, Mansion cited The Whispers, Prince and Chic as key touchstones in his quest for his desired sound. Upon finessing his idiosyncratic European style of funk for his self-titled sophomore LP, Mansion flirted with perfection.
Showcasing a staggering run of instant (non)-hits, this sonically stunning album can be viewed as both of its time and, yet, aeons ahead of it.
Amongst the myriad highlights, "Ou Es-Tu" recalls neck-breaking G-Funk roughly a decade before it was ubiquitous. Its swagger conjures the fantasy sound of Dam-Funk producing fellow Francophone masters Phoenix, circa United; all buzzing synths and snapping drums underpinning vocals that ooze European style.
The glorious synth-workout "Dans L'eau De Nice" boasts an inordinate amount of instrumental flourishes. Augmented by Mansion's vocal class, it still feels tight and perfectly formed like all timeless pop music, and it has since become infamous as a joyous end-of-night singalong hit for house parties.
The startlingly confident "Marche" borders on the arrogant; its sun-drenched cool inviting both awe and irresistible movement. "Quand Je Serai Grand" blasts lazer-guided synth washes over an undeniable groove that would've made Nile Rodgers swoon as he prepped Like A Virgin.
The acid squelch that propels the strutting "Laid, Bête, Et Méchant" delivers infectious bounce with enviable abandon whilst the fantastically wonky "Trop Triste" garnered renewed attention after featuring on Zaltan's beloved Quartier Choc mixtape.
On the rare occasions it appears on the secondary market, it commands eye-watering figures. A record that has eluded even the most seasoned of vinyl freaks, this officially licensed reissue enables a wider audience to now discover its undoubted genius. Dovetailing neatly with the recent interest in forgotten boogie and obscure Euro-pop, this timely reappearance of a certified lost treasure is sure to be one of the summer's essential releases. As sophisticated and multi-layered as the best of the genre, this is highly recommended if you dig for analogue boogie/synth-funk as well as the more leftfield elements of slick 80s pop.
The original artwork of both jacket and sumptuous, full-colour inner sleeve has been faithfully restored; the latter featuring Mansion's memorable lyrics emblazoned across the pleasing jazzy early 80s design. Sonically, Simon Francis' deft mastering adds clarity and muscle throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g."