There are certainly a lot of house and lounge DJ compilations out there, but I bet not many of them feature instruments such as the Chinese erhu, the Balinese gamelan or the Mongolian morinhur violin. And not a whole load throw in samples of Bach either I’d have thought. But then, DjayPee is hardly your average superstar DJ and his debut double album, comprised of two CDs, ‘Lounge’ and ‘Tempo’, could not have less in common with the gaudy commercialisation of the latest Ministry compilations.
DjayPee is a Frenchman who fell in love with the sights, smells and above all the sounds of Asia. He is a DJ and producer who wants to make the music more relevant to a sophisticated global audience and to blend more traditional sounds with its trendy lounge and dancefloor aesthetic. A project like that could easily result in a mess of new age mysticism or the blandness of sanitised, mainstream world music. But that reckons without the technical mastery and musical vision of DjayPee.
Taking as his starting point the cool French house beats of the likes of Bob Sinclair or Air, DjayPee weaves an intense pattern of melodies and pan-asian sounds to create two very different albums.
Although both have some relation to the effortlessly cool grooves of the Café Del Mar or Buddha Bar compilations that have dominated the trendier of Mediterranean bars over the last decade, these are far more original and far more musical.
Both CDs are accompanied by extensive text explanations of the particular songs so that the listener is presented with the full experience, whether that be a relaxed and meditative one on ‘Lounge’ or the energetic buzz of ‘Tempo’.
Tunes like ‘I Feel Love’ and ‘Geisha’, both winners in international competitions, show that these are not albums made by someone with nothing more than an ear for a beat and big collection of samples. No, this is an artist who expresses himself through his chosen form – a blend of lounge and house music.
As he himself says, referring to his ongoing love affair with the Asian continent, this is a record that “sets an artistic agenda.”
DjayPee says he wants listeners to “know how Asia and the West sound when they begin a romance.” Well, if he is the conductor of that romance, then they sure sound good.
'Lounge' and 'Tempo' are available to buy now at Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby.