Azari & III – Azari & III (Loose Lips)

March 3, 2012 by  

Having first heard of Azari & III through their collaboration with Friendly Fires for Stay Here, featured on Friendly Fires’ Suck My Deck for Bugged Out two years ago, there was something great about Azari & III that fit with the samba 80’s disco feel of Friendly Fires’ sound. 2 years later and Alphonse Alixander Lanza III and Dinamo Azari have added Fritz Helder and Cedric Gasiada to what was originally more of a DJ act. Where many electronic acts have a ‘hype man’, these additional members provide exactly that as well as lending their vocals to several of the tracks on their self titled debut. Some of these songs have been hanging about for a couple of years but are now consolidated within a pretty strong debut. 2012 has already seen several debut albums that have been building up since around 2009 and they’ve proved that waiting and developing their sound has been helpful and in Azari & III’s case, still manages to sound futuristic.

Combining electronic, house and industrial amongst other nuances in that area of genre, Azari & III sound is as repetitive as Factory Floor although instead of pounding guttural industrial-electronic music, this is sexy electro-house with more than enough textural layers to draw you in. Opener ‘Into the Night’ sees the original duo’s production set the mood for a night of hard clubbing with shimmying synth loops and an underlying gloopy house pattern but its Helder and Gasiada’s soulful vocals that get the party in full swing for an hour of unstoppable tunes. ‘Tunnel Vision’ is like a hypnotic black and white spiral as the euro-electro inspired beat dizzily repeats itself over and over, with a sharp drum beat and other frequenting elements weaving in between. This wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking catwalks at fashion shows but would be amazing with a female rapper complimenting the production.

‘Indigo’ showcases a more technical side to the Canadian producers as the track builds up with a clapping drum beat, strong glitch pulse, bouncing bassline and echoing vocal samples that crescendo until you’re sure that the production will blur into a mind bending mush and just at that moment, everything is dropped to the foundation of the bouncing bassline as ‘Indigo’ then builds back on itself, bringing all of the elements back in. This is a shorter version of the deconstructing and reconstructing technique that is most expertly shown on ‘Atlas’ by Battles but works just as well here. Perhaps the anomaly out of the tracks on their S/T full length, ‘Manhooker’ sees Azari & III at their most inaccessible with ominous low end industrial loops and sexy whispers that sound tortured, which creates an unsettling atmosphere. Whilst many of the other tracks on the album are almost like motivational dance-workout songs, the mood of Manhooker is disconcerting, reminiscent of taking the night bus home after a night out and being paranoid that the person walking behind you is out to get you.

With a supporting slot on Madonna’s upcoming tour on the cards and a TV appearance on The Album Chart Show on Channel 4, we’re hoping that the release of their club-ready full length will keep the ball rolling and garner them the success they deserve. They’ve already got the support of respected people in the industry, so here’s hoping this brilliant debut full of twists and turns will win over those who aren’t already fans of Azari & III.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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