Few acts manage to cause such a stir with their first 12“ as OUTLINES did with Just A Lil’ Lovin’ (SK045
). This track earned them a universal hit which has just kept on growing in popularity even though the initial release had to wait two years due to sample clearance. At first available only as a bootleg, the track was played by such illustrious DJs as GILLES PETERSON, MR. SCRUFF, KING BRITT, KYOTO JAZZ MASSIVE; PETER KRUDER; LAURENT GARNIER and JOSH WINK and it’s no wonder with such an infectiously groovy number
The next hit, Listen To The Drums (SK121
), continued this success story in autumn 2006, especially thanks to the remixes by JAZZANOVA (incl. DIXON edit) and CHRISTIAN PROMMER (FAUNA FLASH, TRÜBY TRIO, VOOM:VOOM) being included on the two 12"s.
Now finally the release of french trio OUTLINES debut album. Behind the project lies producer IRFANE and JEROME HADEY as well as the grafitti artist JAY1, who takes care of all the groups artwork. The album has been coming to fruition for many years and was finished in OUTLINES studio in Clignancourt, north Paris. A very special spirit seems to haunt the streets there as OUTLINES' direct neighbours are the studios of big names DAFT PUNK and CASSIUS. In any case, there's no other place on the musical world map with a comparably optimistic concept of music somewhere between club sounds and pure pop.
And OUTLINES are no exception. Under the guidance of studio mastermind IRFANE they condense electronica, funk, grinding basses and sexy soul jazz guitars into an absolutely compelling mélange the inner core of which is always hip hop. That audacious pathos for which French club-pop is so famous meets an underground sample aesthetic which holds the music back from a too stream-lined form and grounds it in the indie cosmos.
The beats rock without restraint and only know one direction: forwards! Thanks to the playfully detailed and throughout humorous production, this is never at the expense of the listening pleasure. OUTLINES rock the club but still don't forget to take the listener with them.
The first thing one notices on most of the tracks is IRFANE's vocals - and he didn't even want to sing himself to begin with. For Just A Lil’ Lovin he wanted to do a collaboration with CLARA HILL and it was her who got IRFANE to take the mic into his own hands. A real stroke of luck because otherwise we would not get to hear his fresh, charming, soulful performance today.
IRFANE's vocals are rounded off with an impressive selection of other features. Besides ABD AL MALIK and the French hip hop legend BEAT ASSAILANT, the collaboration with the incomparably RZA aka ROBERT DIGGS aka BOBBY DIGITAL, mastermind of hip hop crossover legends the WU-TANG CLAN is most impressive. RZA ensures that Now That I’m Free reaches an even higher level of energy. JEROME HADEY is not just a hip hop DJ; his previous activities as a booker have payed off here as that's how he got in touch with RZA by the way, he also brought RZA and I:CUBE together...
The OUTLINES album is an important statement and not just in the French music scene. The trio shows that francophone disco pop anno 2007 doesn't just work when dressed up in an 80s costume, rather with their hip-hop and jazz roots they have opened up many doors to the future.
Hannes Bieger / Dirk Markham