Since his 1996 remix of Daft Punk’s ‘Around The World’ first propelled him into the French dance music spotlight, Parisian DJ / electronic producer Nicolas Chaix has spent the last two decades amassing a prolific backcatalogue of releases both solo under his I:Cube alias, and as one-half of the more downbeat-centred Chateau Flight alongside Versatile Records co-owner Gilb-r.
While he’s been quiet on the albums front since the release of 2012’s ‘M Megamix’ collection, he’s continued to release 12” EPs at a fairly steady rate over the last couple of years. As its functional-sounding title suggests, this latest release ‘Double Pack’ offers up six new I:Cube tracks spread over two 12”s, and coming in at 38 minutes in total length, feels more like a mini-album than anything else.
‘Flutes Souterraines’ kicks things off into faintly balearic-tinged territory as percussive elements intertwine against a rolling 4/4 house kickdrum pulse, the swirling synth-flute arpeggios adding to the sense of spiraling depth, as things slide down into a dub-delay assisted breakdown, only for the dancefloor rhythms to shift back to the forefront as they propel the track off into a closing haze of refracted ambient synths. ‘Troglo Dance’ meanwhile gets far more robotic and Detroit-tech-y, as rolling snare bursts chatter against urgently alarm-pulsing analogue synths and shimmering handclaps, in a stripped-down and wiry slice of eerie techno that sits closer to the likes of The Hacker and Arnaud Rebotini.
‘Bifurque’ gets dark and deep, dropping the tempo down slightly for a nocturnal glide through muted kickdrums and wafting background synths that sees an elastic analogue synth bassline adding rich sense of warmth to the shuffling hi-hats and reverbed out ambient tones that flit through in the background. Elsewhere, ‘Fractal P’ closes proceedings with what’s perhaps this collection’s most opulent dancefloor excursion, fusing a shuffling 4/4 Chicago-tinged house groove to phased percussive echoes and dark whirring synth drones, while delicate melodic notes play icily over the top against wordless vocal textures. A more than worthy return from an enduring French tech-house talent.