Motorbass – Pansoul Review (Sept 96)

Motorbass - Pansoul

Motorbass ‘Pansoul’ (Cassius, France)

September 1996

WHAT’s going on?

There must be something special running through the waters of the Seine right now. A magic ingredient begging to be bottled. Something which has kicked the French into the 20th Century. And given us some of the finest and deepest beats imaginable along the way.

Last month, we reported on the unique atmosphere at Paris’ Rex club. And for the very first time, our Album of the Month spot was shared by two essential discs Francais, the mighty Dimitri From Paris ‘Sacrebleu’ and the equally grand ‘Source Lab 2′. This month, the Parisian connection again strikes gold with Motorbass’ ‘Pansoul’, a record of almost indescribable beauty.

Following the superb ‘Foxy Lady’ single, Cassius’ latest project is the brainchild of Phillippe Zdar, the boss of the label and one half of those legendary abstract beat freaks, La Funk Mob. For this venture, Zdar has teamed up with Etienne de Crecy to produce and album of free-flowing, juice-jacking funk which has already created a major buzz. A few advance copies of ‘Pansoul’ were sneaked into the UK las month and duly flew out of the shops at breakneck speed. London’s Tag Records said it was the open-minded punters who went for it. But apart from a select few, like the Heavenly Saturday Social mob, most DJs remained slow off the mark. How sorry they’re going to be!

So what’s all the fuss about, then? Well, for starters, there are eight tracks of deep house with a hip-hop attitude. It’s also a double-disc of solid jack-tracking bolstered by rough-cut exotica samples and stealth-defying scratching. Oh, and it just happens to be and utterly unique sound, too. For argument’s sake let’s simply say that listening to ‘Pansoul’ opens up a whole new spectrum of sound which really deserves its own individual category.

From the opening beats of ‘Ezio’, the Motorbass manifesto is made abundantly clear. They want you to get on down with the good groove. It’s a funk thing and it could ignite even the frostiest of dancefloors. The mother of all below-the-waist grooves takes you on a journey deep into sexual urgency, basslines slip and slither their way through percussive salsa action, and distant voices call for the break to kick in.

‘Flying Fingers’ could be Monseiur Fingers himself. Liquid keys snake around a shuffling hi-hat until the solid Mantronix-ish b-line hits in. With ‘Les Ondes’, Motorbass take all the funking ingredients and throw in a vocal refrain which could have come from that man Dimitri’s record collection. We’re talking wild exotica seduced by harp flourishes and a pants-level swing.

‘Neptune’ introduces more than a dash of a Seventies superfly vive into the proceedings, an off-beat percussion block pushing the beat to the very edge. ‘Genius’ tilts the mood towards a Latino celebration. ‘Pariscyde’ and ‘Bad Vives (D-mix)’ finish the album in similar style, drawing on the by now expected multifarious angles and making for a trainspotter’s paradise of samples.

All in all ‘Pansoul’ is the sound of swinging post-house Paris diving heart first into deep-fried funk, throwing a fresh colour onto the paintwork of house and licking the lips of Nineties electro-soul.

Sacre bleu indeed!

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