Tchami drops huge 16-track debut album ‘Year Zero’: Listen
He’s the Godfather of the ‘Future House’ movement which swept the industry at the turn of 2013, and now, 7 years on, Tchami has blessed us with the release of his first ever debut album, ‘Year Zero‘. With acts like Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Avicii, and David Guetta all dominating during the ‘EDM era’ of 2010-2013, a fresh approach was needed as the sub-genre started to fizzle out… Step forward Parisian producer Martin Bresso (aka Tchami). With his stunning remix for AlunaGeorge first dropping as a piping-hot ID on ‘The Martin Garrix show‘, the bass maestro soon announced himself to the world in truly spectacular style, reworking Janet Jackson‘s ‘Go Deep‘, and even launching the iconic ‘Promesses‘ on the legendary Ministry of Sound label.
One of modern music’s true success stories, the man in the priest costume soon had us all praising our new found Lord of house music via his own unique cathedral of productions, as thousands packed into the holy communion of Tomorrowland‘s main-stage, Creamfields, or Ultra Music Festival in Miami, to pay homage to Tchami’s new testament, filled with spell-binding anthems such as ‘Adieu’. Fast forward to 2020, and following a prolonged ‘No Redemption‘ tour alongside fellow ‘Pardon My French‘ colleague Malaa, white smoke is now emerging from dance music’s great Vatican to signal the rebirth of our favourite vicar’s solo project. This is ‘Year Zero’: REVIEWED…
01. Heartless (feat. Chase)
Sprinkling the album opener with a slick house feel, a metronomic melody ticks away with added bass textures, showcasing the mellow side of Tchami. Adding a reverb vocal to create an echo effect, this is the perfect two-stepper and certainly a strong start to life in ‘Year Zero’.
02. Proud (feat. Daecolm)
Packing his powerful production prowess into this one, Tchami delivers a luscious build-up with a drop hugely reminiscent of his signature style, soaking the hook in jungle/zoo influenced noises which perfectly underpin a rich four-to-the-floor beat.
03. Toxic Love
Not quite packing the same bassy punch as some of his grittier tracks, a high-octane vocal is added in high pitch to create a fairly deep-house feel, but overall on a body of work filled with 16 tracks, there will always be ‘album filler’ and this is perhaps the first hint of that.
04. Buenos Aires
Coated in a truly gorgeous 80s electro vibe, this one would work perfectly in a roller disco. Tinged with sepia-soaked nostalgia, a punchy bass-line really brings this track to life as the French maestro demonstrates his dynamic diversity.
05. Praise (feat. Gunna)
With Gunna‘s vocals adding a fresh afrobeats/hip-hop feel to track, the power of Tchami’s skills in the studio really shine through via a tight and polished final version. The chorus, however, could be filed under the ‘repetitive’ category, and there is, perhaps, not enough energy overall in the production.
06. Shine On
Entirely instrumental, you could easily argue the case for this kind of track excluding itself from the higher-energy output of the CONFESSION founder’s live shows. (Though it may be used during a DJ ‘changeover’). Overall nice background/waiting room music, with several uses of what sounds like a Macbook start-up sample.
07. All On Me (feat ZHU)
Fans of ZHU will have no doubt had their eye on this one when the track-list emerged last week, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Atmospheric, reflective and emotive, this is the album’s stand-out track so far. Filled with dirty rasping bass-lines, this is a really filthy after-hours grumbler!
08. The Light
Reverting to more of a ‘classic Tchami’ style here, the Parisian pairs short synths stabs with slick chords and reverbs to craft two-stepping gold. Blessed with a real retro feel, this is pure feel-good house with a Chicago twist. As the man himself would say… “It’s a spiritual thing”.
09. Sweet Savage
Another real hum-dinger of a track, this might just be the best so far! Deep bass-lines blends into the background via an EQ filter effect, but the track soon bursts into life again with a chime led drop. This is lush from start to finish, and there can be no doubt; We’re now hearing Tchami at his very best.
10. Monseigneur (feat Tony Romera)
Filled with a haunting intro which is led by the sound of a child’s wind-up musical toy box, fast bass thumps soon crash into action on a big build, filled with a dirty twist on the drop. This is really high-tempo, packed with zippy bass, and it’s what Tchami does best.
11. Rebirth (feat Stacy Barthe)
For those of you wondering where you have seen the name of Stacy Barthe before, she’s certainly no stranger to a Tchami collaboration. The vocalist previously featured on the producer’s iconic hit ‘Afterlife‘, and is delivering real gold once again here. Packed with a a warm and driven soulful edge of house, the use of claps give the track a crisp French feel.
12. Born Again
Fast and furious, Tchami excels when it comes to this frenetic feel-good vibe. The track even echoes some of his work during the ‘No Redemption’ era, sounding similar to tracks like ‘Summer 99‘ in areas.
13. Ain’t That Kind of Friend
Despite a solemn opener, which sounds relatively mournful, the track soon perks up but overall, this is Sunday morning chill vibes whilst cooking breakfast. Kudos have to go to the excellent use of the piano in this track.
14. Ghosts (feat Hana)
Previously released as a single and teaser of the album, those deep brooding chords are met with the same Tchami pulses of jungle/zoo sounds we’ve seen (and heard) so many times before. Has a real ‘Kurupt’ feel to it.
15. Faith (feat Marlena Shaw)
A total masterpiece. From start to finish. Not just the greatest Tchami track since ‘Adieu‘ 3 years ago, but the best track of the album, and one of the greatest productions you’ll hear in 2020, period.
16. Damaged Hearts (feat Todd Edwards)
In somewhat fitting style, the finale of ‘Year Zero’ sounds like the end of a movie. Blessed with that real melancholic ‘end credits’ feel, the track takes advantage of synth-wave sounds to create a gorgeous Baywatch/Knight Rider/RoboCop kind of feel. Could easily be used in Ryan Gosling‘s ‘Drive‘.
Showcasing the several sides of the producer’s penchant for the spiritual, Tchami’s ‘Year Zero’ is a deliciously dynamic smorgasbord of house-flavoured delights. Not every track on the album will appeal to everybody, but such is the delight of this production that the French genius has stepped out of his comfort zone to experiment with several new ideas and continue his artistic growth, all whilst maintaining the core elements of that rich house-focused Tchami sound. The resulting recipe is one of the most impressive electronic albums of the year.
Image Credit: Tchami (Press)