Downtempo to hold your attention
Reviewed October 2009
In the Mood for Life
By Wax Tailor
Le Plan Music: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
French trip-hopper Wax Tailor (Jean-Christophe Le Saoût) opens his latest album, "In the Mood for Life," with a slow bit of cafe salon music, a touch of chanson. He then slips into some downtempo chill before offering "B-Boy on Wax," which begins as a straight-up hip-hop track with guest rapper Speech Defect before a jazz backtrack opens up behind the vocals.
That seamless slipping from style to style is representative of the two-disc album as a whole. Wax Tailor isn't about a style or a sound so much as an approach: And that approach is to offer a fully contemporary take on chic elegance. The music here is smartly arranged, and as plush and shiny as Rolls Royce showroom.
Much like compatriot Stéphane Pompougnac, who has released the "Hôtel Costes" series of compilations based on his d.j. mixes at the famed Paris nightspot of the same name, Wax Tailor creates a soundtrack for the modern cocktail hour. It's built around a slowed-down Euro dance beat, better suited for nodding your head to than actually dancing. But he also mixes in American soul and funk rhythms, giving it a less strictly European feel than Pompougnac's collections. And with the faux radio announcements, skits, etc., he draws not a little on vintage 1970s Parliament and Funkadelic.
The whole techno style is generally used as background music and while this album will serve that purpose very nicely at your next dinner party, you're equally likely to find your attention being tugged away from the conversation you're listening in on to the sounds Wax Tailor drapes so decadently around your ears.
Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).