Album Review: Fin - John Talabot

Image source: Red Bull Music AcademyFollowing on from my write-up on Cloud Atlas' Attack On Nothing earlier this week I couldn't let John Talabot's Fin pass by without comment.

I'd not previously heard of Talabot before a month or so back when the press for Fin started rolling in. After a brief listen on Spotify I knew this was an album I needed to own.

Fin feels like a commentary on electronic music itself. Whilst portions of dance music twist themselves into an ever tighter rubber band ball trying to define exactly what contemporary dubstep 'means' to nine decimal points here is an album that feels like a broad snapshot of the past twenty-five years taken through the lens of a brand new high-definition camera. There are moments that recall early-nineties dance, eighties electro and noughties minimal but it does so in a way that feels utterly consistent. In a sense this is an album of no style, not in terms of lacking stylistic sense (definitely not) but in that it has no genres tied to it at all.

It also captures subtleties of human emotion - 'Oro y Sangre' is all moody blues without ever uttering a word whilst 'Journeys', featuring Etkhi on vocals, feels like sunny expeditions through tropical islands. Opener 'Dapak Ine' has paranoia before emerging butterfly like halfway through with a key change that casts off the worry as easily as swallowing a pill. The latter takes all the texture and detail of minimal techno and applies it to an instrumental that manages to come off as accessible - Ricardo Villalobos with a hook you can remember, basically. This is clearly the work of someone who really knows what they are doing.

As things move towards the end of the album you can't help but feel the warmth of Talabot's hometown Barcelona pulse through this record. These are themes for losing yourself too. 'When The Past Was Present' aptly captures the cynicism-free optimism of rave and packages it up into something that means you can almost feel yourself getting lost on the dance floor for the first time all over again - it's like Talabot set out to re-create Moby's 'Go' and somehow made a classic even better.

Closing on 'So Will Be Now', bouncing beats, handclaps and bruised vocal chants Fin feels appropriately like a climatic full stop - the end of the beginning. Debut records that are well realised are rare - even more impressive is that this one does so much whilst relying on so little in the way of genre or contemporaries.

Fin is out now, available from on CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links]; stream now on Spotify.