Breaking beats and hearts from here to Paris, lauded DJ quartet C2C comes to Montreal’s Metropolis on Sunday April 7th. If you’re in the mood to get your booty shaking (or to watch other booties shake) then Friday’s your night!
In case you’re not familiar with these genre-benders, we’re taking a look back at C2C’s first album Tetra, which saw a celebrated Quebec release from the Dep/Universal label in October of 2012.
Judging from the strange album art, you’d expect Tetra to sound like chipmunk-voiced bubblegum J-pop. But no, this is just a curious attempt at sex appeal (I think), for C2C is not a group of cute Japanese girls, but rather scruffy white Frenchmen. That’s where the bad news ends — the rest is gravy. Consisting of 0syl, DJ Greem, DJ Pfel and DJ AtomOnce, C2C has been amassing a sizeable fanbase for 15 years already, as well as garnering critical acclaim — they won the Disco Mix Club World Team DJ Championship four years in a row.
It’s hard to believe Tetra is their debut album, but the wait was worth it. Full of guests including Jay Jay Johnson, Pigeon John, Olivier Daysoul, Blitz the Ambassador, Ledeunff, Tiger Style and others both vocal and instrumental, Tetra is an immense project, packing every corner of its 65-minute runtime. Even at its prodigious length, the album has energy to spare.
C2C bears the hallmarks of other quirky vinyl-vulture samplers such as DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist: skilled turntabling, vocal samples dredged from dusty archives, cheeky combinations of instruments and textures. But instead of meandering into experimental soundscapes, as those artists have been known to do, C2C focus on steady, dance-ready breakbeats and synth-pop song structures straight out of Justice and Daft Punk. Make no mistake, this is a pop album, and a good one.
What sort of pop isn’t easily described, as each track plunders different pieces of musical history. The Avalanches would be proud of the eclecticism on display: “The Beat” fuses glittery Vandrossian R&B with grimy, gang-vocal Beastie Boys rap delivery. “Happy” electrifies gospel-funk, courtesy of high-energy vocalist Derek Martin, the wonderful single “Down the Road” (currently heard in Dr. Pepper ads across America) resurrects twangy Dust Bowl blues. “Le Banquet” goes totally over the top, fusing robot electro with furious scratching, ’50s movie samples and bhangra (!).
Save perhaps for the sweeping samurai-soundtrack “F.U.Y.A.”, every track is a banger, crafted to light up clubs and car stereos. Yeah, it’s commercial, but it’s thoughtful, with a sonic depth that rewards a little more with each listen.
Dep/Universal’s decision to release Tetra domestically was a smart one. With their hip-hop swagger, jazz horn blasts and driving electro-pop hooks, C2C should be embraced by fans of Montreal’s own breakbeat genre-benders (including the previously-covered Champion and Misteur Valaire, among others).
Be sure to catch them at Metropolis this week, and in the meantime, enjoy going “Down the Road”: