Deftly titled ‘Her Dream’, Fort Romeau’s latest offering is an enigmatic three track EP consisting of understated sounds that work both on and off the dance floor. Its effect is that of an uncertainty as to whether or not you are head bobbing along in dark, thumping seclusion or drifting off into dazed unconsciousness. From a conceptual standpoint, the material works to induce the familiar sensation one might experience when awaking from a half-forgotten dream, where joy or even pained feelings submerge and break down into something more ambiguous. Even the intricately sketched artwork speaks to this balanced tone, which is prevalent throughout the whole EP.
The clear and distinctive quality of this work is its manipulation of vocals; where many of Fort Romeau’s contemporaries are lazily drowning material out with soulless soprano belting, he is successful in finessing both simplistic vocals and rolling beats together without ever having to compromise one for the other.
The title track exemplifies this technique; ‘Her Dream’ could feel at home in any staple house mix with trademark euphoric grooves and punching drums. The smooth vocal, however, is the best ingredient – a soft, languid ripple that quickly develops into swimming rhythmic delights. Coupled with a reverberating and haunting synth, it plunges us deeper into uncharted depths.
‘I Knew’ is arguably the heaviest piece, kick starting the EP with trademark, clinking percussions. A stabbing beat pushes for a darker bassline but its marriage to a moaning, distorted vocal prevents it from relegation into dance floor fodder. This structure similarly lends itself to ‘Pirouette’, the next instalment that again employs a creeping warped vocal over crisp, melancholic drums.
All in all, the piece is frank in its simplicity but at the same time it maintains a clear and definitive originality. It might not be the boldest of pieces (and it never pretends to be), but in this oversaturated, techno-driven market, it sets itself apart with this honesty of ambition.