MACEO PLEX: ELLUM
With over 15 years of experience at the forefront of dance music, from the white hot flash of electroclash to the mighty institutions of European techno, one might think we've seen all Miss Kittin has to offer. But Calling From The Stars demonstrates this cat still has some new tricks. For starters, Calling From The Stars is the first album written and produced almost entirely by Kittin herself. Having been schooled by the crème of international studio talent, including longtime collaborator The Hacker, Chicago legend Felix da Housecat and UK acid house innovator Pascal Gabriel, Kittin set out to use her training to create music that came at it's own pace, writing and recording only when inspiration struck.
The result of this freedom is Kittin's most personal album to date—even when the personality is that of a dance floor maven. The album starts off with an non-stop burst of club energy, with “Flash Forward,” “Come Into My House” and “Bassline,” which will make listeners imagine if Robyn were bred in the Berlin underground instead of the Swedish pop industry.
Next comes lead single "Life Is My Teacher," which offers a self-exploratory mantra set to a thumping sci-fi techno beat heavy on pulsing synth bass and interstellar laser sounds. The single includes a remix by Spanish duo Borderline, whose releases on fellow electroclash survivor Tiga's Turbo Recordings have been filling global DJ crates over the past year.
This newly found maturity is evident across the remainder of disc one, with themes of loss (“Night Of Life”), melancholy (“Tears Like Kisses”), love (“Eleven”) and confidence (“What To Wear”) explored over brooding electronic soundscapes. There's even a bold and unexpected cover of the R.E.M. mega-hit “Everybody Hurts,” which Michael Stipe himself said he likes “more than the original.”
The unexpected really arrives once you hit play on disc two, a mainly instrumental collection of ambient-leaning techno that fondly recalls the '90s heyday of Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) as defined by Warp Records seminal Artificial Intelligence series. But anyone who has heard Hervé drop tunes by Autechre, Aphex Twin and The Orb on one of her many mix CDs knows that this Little Fluffy Kittin has a long running love affair with this nearly forgotten form of electronic music.
Originally intended as a side-project, Hervé decided to make disc two a part of Calling From The Stars as a way to further reveal Miss Kittin—an artist who was once threatened by over-exposure, but a decade and a half later can unveil herself and her art on her own terms. This isn't shapeshifting to sell CDs. This is taking control of ones own spirit.