Hailed as “a new type of fantastic mover” by DJ Hell way back in 2007, Joe Le Bon’s ascent has not been immediate, though since his move to Berlin from his native Finland his talent has quietly garnered attention.  Having released only 2 EP’s in 2011 (including the beautiful Known Associates on Blumenbeat) Le Bon’s output may quite fairly be considered as far from prolific, clearly valuing quality over quantity.  And quality it most certainly is.  Le Bon’s first EP of 2012, the mesmerizing Always Sunshine, arrives fashionably late on Pro-Tez.

Opening track Life is a Bird is the kind of ethereal, dubby deep house you would expect to find on Smallville or Dial, with an unassuming rolling bassline that allows the focus to explore the shoegaze-y pad elements that rise and subside.  Expect to hear this groove early in the morning, possibly forcing a reconsideration on heading towards the cloakroom…

Drumbum, The 2nd track on the EP, dives to under 100bpm to create a thick ambient soundscape of dubby reverberations and delayed textures, firmly rooted by a dry drum pattern that anchors the track, guiding your ears through the haze.  Designed less with the dancefloor in mind, Drumbum is a comforting slice of ambiance perfect to begin any after-hours session with.

And just when you thought that was it, Le Bon introduces what I consider the standout track of the EP, Spring ’64, a 10 minute percussive epic that slowly builds in emotion as strings (and clarinets?) gently infiltrate the sonic sparsity.  Rich in orchestral details while continually building in pressure, Spring’64 exemplifies how less can sometimes be a whole lot more.  With such quality releases as this, it is only a shame that we will probably have to wait at least 6 months for his next piece of work.  If it’s anything like this, he can have all the time he needs.

Thomas Mitchell

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