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Tarzan – L’Homme Singe EP

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Back in the heady, dubstep filled days of 2009/10, one of my mates who was just getting into electronic production invented a genre. It was called Moat, and he published a guide to making Moat music, which contained these tips:

You will need:

1. Some sort of music making program (like the one they used to give out in Nutrigrain boxes)
2. A shitload of sample packs containing afro, jungly, tribal sounding percussion loops
3. Some deep as fuck basslines
4. Something cool to chop up like an acapella that says ‘bitches’ or something

One artist then interpreted “Afro, Jungly, Tribal sounding percussion loops” as being literal jungle sounds – parrots, jaguars, buzzing insects and general rainforest ambience, and thus the shortest lived and least recognised electronic music genre had its flash in the pan.

 tarzan

Tarzan incorporates sub-saharan ambience with contemporary chop production culture in the mysteriously artistic five track L’Homme Singe EP.

Cut to 2014, where for the first time, a producer living on the other side of the world has independently invented what I can only recognise as “Post-Moat”. Tarzan is the thematic project of French experimental producer Miqi O., and his new EP L’Homme Singe is a beautiful experiment in blending primal subject matter with contemporary production and futuristic presentation. Busy with choppy instrumentation and samples from 1930’s Tarzan films, L’Homme Singe is perhaps the most intriguing electronic release of 2014.

I heard the opener last night on FBi’s late Thursday night electronic music program Future Face, where the track was introduced with equal parts irony and genuine interest, and it is this attitude towards the project that makes Tarzan’s work so listenable. Titular track L’Homme Singe opens brashly on an Attenboroughesque soundscape of howler monkeys before fading into the jungliest drums you’ll hear this side of the Indian Ocean.

A tripped out mix of sliced up flutes, vaguely eastern vocal melodies and shaking percussion finally culminate as the reverberated “AHHHUUUAHHHUUUAAHHUAHHHUAHH” of Mr. Tarzan himself cuts through the mix. It’s strange, it’s a little humorous and hella confusing on first listen but these emotions come together really, really well – the perfect mix of ‘what the fuck’ and ‘fuck yeah’.

The rest of the EP is much of the same fare, Outlaw (Crazy Horse Chase) featuring some envelope filtered synthesiser stabs, a flute/panpipe solo and more mind bending experimental composition. La Loi de La Jungle lulls us into a Japanese inspired experimental mix of randomised digital sounds, acid-tech synthesisers and a wandering double-bass, reminiscent of capcom games that were never ported to western markets and Osamu Sato & Out Ass Mao‘s LSD remixes.

If not the most accessible EP, its charm comes from its intrigue and its artistic contrast. Wholly modern compositions that verge on the jazzy that utilise the most primal sounds and polyrhythms contrast and intertwine to create an unforgettable listening experience. Seriously, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this release. Très étrange, mais tout à fait beau.

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May 5, 2014

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