C2C have been scratching records and splicing genres together for years now, providing a spectacle that is truly impressive to watch. But usually when transferring something as multi-facetted and complex as a turntable battle from the stage to a recorded audio, the results are often disappointing as something somewhere tends to get lost on the way between stage and studio. With Tetra, the Nantes-based turntable collective's first full-length record, the band have taken their time in producing a series of breakbeat tracks that they hope sounds just as good in your car or living room as they do on stage, but have the French four-piece succeeded in doing this?
Despite having been together making breakbeat, turntabalist music together since 1998, this is in fact the first foray into making a full-length release as C2C by members 20Syl, Greem, Atom and Pfel. Aside from the members' dedication to their own turntable duos (20Syl and Greem form Hocus Pocus, Atom and Pfel form the duo Beat Torrent), their own musical genre is one that, like battle raps, is generally better left to be played in front of a crowd than through a home stereo. This is something that C2C will have thought about extensively before heading to the studio and on the finished product that is Tetra, you can tell that the boys have defined their sound to leave out the rawness and improvisation that usually accompanies a live show. The result is one that makes their sound much easier to access, but really skimps on the realness of a gig.
Rather than go for complexities though, the band have tried their hand at making what is essentially a party album, and album opener 'The Cell' is everything the opulent album cover alludes to. The album's two most prominent tracks, this and 'Happy' both exude this desired bombast and sumptuous party soundtrack vibe but blink and you might miss the group's venture into slightly exciting territory as the rest of the album is, unfortunately, both uninspiring and laden with commercial appeal.
The album tries too hard to be accessible and because of this what could be an Avalanches/DJ Shadow-like expos' of sampling and DJ techniques just ends up sounding like the more appealing elements of radio/music television fodder. 'King's Season' tries its hardest to be a smooth, rap beat to accompany Rita J's rhyming and singing, but just ends up sounding messing and awash in a sea of bleeps and scratches 'Because of You' feat. Pigeon John sounds like a Black Eyed Peas song far too often. C2C are essentially four talented individuals who have come together with the intention of making their own contribution heard over the others, with the end result just sounding like a cluttered mess. This is music to give you a headache, not just from the brash 'everything and the kitchen sink' ethos but from the sense of disappointment of what could have been a decent album.
'Down The Road,' the main single from the album, really embodies this philosophy, and whilst the first few listens of the bluesy harmonica and guitar slides might seem like a fun novelty, after a few listens it just sounds like noise. This is music for the attention span-less generation, after an easy fix of something that looks shiny at first, but after a few plays the sheen has changed to a murky brown.
Tetra isn't necessarily a bad album, but if you really want to experience C2C then maybe stick to watching YouTube videos for now and maybe the boys will be able to pipe down for a second and make a worthwhile follow-up.
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