Frenchman Fulgeance has been bringing his unique flavor to instrumental hip-hop for some time now, and his forthcoming LP, Step Thru, to be released on rx:tx, is no less special. His second album in the course of a year mixes digital and analogue productions tools and he describes Step Thru as his "most personal record, not trying to be catchy or hype, banging or trendy" — it's "something darker and weird that I'm really into now." We're always down with creative minds doing what they feel like when they feel like it, and thankfully, Fulgeance's new tracks aren't too weird to be listenable. You can catch the album on October 15 (or pre-order it now).
Check out (and download) an exclusive cut from the LP below, and read on for our chat with Fulgeance about the album, his influences, his live show, and his production process.
EARMILK: What were the driving thoughts for the new album, Step Thru?
Fulgeance: I really wanted to go into a kind of minimal production like the crystal clear productions of Harmonic 313 or Dabrye. Something raw and clear at the same time.There are plenty of influences, and I think it's my most personal record, not trying to be catchy or hype, banging or trendy, something darker and weird that I'm really into now.
EM: What were you listening to in your free time as you made the album?
F: Well, a bit like always… my old fav productions from Prefuse73, Dabrye or Hovatron, Om Unit, Squeaky Lobster, Dimlite, Four Tet. But once again it's all the crazy sound libraries where I took a lot of samples which influenced me, the strange moods, nostalgia and simple but deep melodies. I self-released the b-side of Step Thru, an EP called Mini Club, really inspired by those libraries… Don't ask me why, I love it, even the most crappy one, this analog stuff is so amazing. When you listen to this, you feel the time context, the dusty studios and long recording sessions.
EM: What's your production process like mentally?
F: I try to stay minimal, feeling the elements like bass and synths and always searching to smash – shuffle – squeeze them, keeping them danceable and always "groovy" which I think, whatever direction of sound I take, is my credo, the “groove."
EM: What tools did you use to make this album? How do your production and live equipment differ?
F: A lot of chopped samples, Ableton Live, Reason, and a few bits of analog gear, I wish I had more of this and am working on it!
Since I'm playing live, my production was always fixed on this, always thinking at the same time about the way to bring it live, but on Step Thru, I really concentrated on the production and sound, without beats played on pads, it's more "mouse" editing, you know! I know it's less sexy than a controller or an MPC2000, but that's the way it is, and it pushed me diferent ways. Don't worry, the live set is still punchy and live improvised!