Felix Cartal ‘Different Faces’ Reviewed
In the evolutionary standpoint of post Justice electronic dance music production, Felix Cartal entered the picture while the genre was being fronted by some of it's most influential figures; most importantly Steve Aoki,The Bloody Beetroots and MSTRKRFT. In the two or so years between then and signing with Dim Mak, Felix came out with a handful of remixes and bootlegs that very much fit the Dim Mak production style, culminating with his first major release (The Skeleton EP) in 2009 and his first full length (Popular Music) in 2010.
With his now 3rd consecutive release on the Dim Mak label, Felix has crafted a full length album that is very well produced throughout, but lacks in originality on more than a couple of tracks. Take into account the opening track "Black To White," which has almost the exact same chord progression as "Heartbreakter" by MSTRKRFT. While his technical production skills are stellar, I found very similar crossover effects while listening to "City of Love", "Don't Turn On The Lights" and "H.U.N.T.", with the latter two having a more textbook dutch/swedish house style to them. "Domo" and "Fin" are the two big bangers of the album's first half, and for the most part there they don't sound too different from each other.
From "Higher" and on the album really comes into it's own. "Life is a Sinewave" and "The Race" are both rife with originality in their synth work and melodies, and are unmasked by any of the generic vocalists that were features the first half of the album. With that said, the vocalist featured on "Tonight" (Maja Iversson) is a perfect fit with the upbeat backtrack, making for easily the catchiest song on the album. It's also a good set up track for the second half of the album's big banger "Triple Deke," which much more aptly represents Felix's early approach to making heavy Electro-House music.
The album then concludes with my two favorite tracks - "We Are All Aliens" and "30,000 LFOs". The former is a sort of Phantom of the Opera-esque build/interlude for the latter, which features a bed of fuzzy undertones and an array of high-pitched synths that culminates in a final white-noise filtering into the latter. The latter is far and beyond my favourite track of the album, combining lazery and gritty patches to produce an almost Handbrakes style sound that still holds true to what we've come to expect from him. He even throws in a couple of dubstep-ish breaks that didn't sound half bad.
Felix's strong technical skills, studio experience and network of friends has kept him consistently in the limelight. This new release sees a lot of maturity in his sound and production capabilities, but I anticipate to see a lot of growth from this star on the rise still.