Boomkat Product Review:
French-touch club legend I:Cube returns, starry-eyed and spangled with kosmische lust on their self-titled first album in over a decade - RIYL Cluster & Eno, Neu!, Stereolab, Laraaji, Jean-Michel Jarre, Air, Silver Apples of the Moon.
I:Cube is the most revered alias of Nicolas Chaix (aka half of Château Flight with Gilb’R), the Parisian mainstay whose early 12”s and albums were crucial to the development of what became known as the French-touch sound of house music alongside the likes of Daft Punk and Pépé Bradock in the ‘90s and beyond. While he’s never let up with the high quality house deliveries since the ‘90s, recent years have seen Chaix turn his music outwards, upwards, a la 2022’s ‘Chimère FM’ project, which leads the way to ‘Eye Cube’; a delicious confection of classically skooled synth music iridescent with analogue machine melody and gently urged by raw, burbling drum machines. It’s the sound of an artist growing older gracefully, timelessly, and following their nose for more dreamlike and sensuous headspaces, without losing sight of what brought them here in the first place.
Improvised “hands on” and in-the-moment, and presented with minimal post-production, ‘Eye Cube’ is ultimately a testament to what naturally flows forth when he turns on the machines nowadays. Drawing on nearly 30 years of practice, the results convect a searching spirit between celestial harmonics recalling Laraaji in ‘Prismatic’, thru to Silver Apples of the Moon-esque exploits on ‘Vantableu’, and Air-via-JMJ-indebted beauty on ‘Gypsotheque 2’ or ‘Kaszio Plus 1’. He makes room for cosmic turbulence in ‘La Grotte aux fées’ and echoes of his club roots with the Rabih Beaini-like astro-techno vectors of ‘0-0-01-48’, and kisses off with a classic gallic flourish ripe for some unmade film’s romance scenes or a DIC animation in the 0PN-via-Eno shimmer to close, ‘Infinite ∞ Melodies’.