Review of No Fantasy Required Album by Tiga

Upon the Contact towers whiteboard, Montreal born Tiga (That's pronounced Tigger, not Tiger by the way) has his name underlined and a big arrow in pen pointing towards a balloon with the words "Difficult transition" inside it. This is because we like it when a new record reinforces one of the house rules, and No Fantasy Required  does so by proving the old maxim that the path from DJ to performer is not always a smooth one.

Tiga No Fantasy Required Album

This release marks his third attempt to do something like that, the others - his 2006 début Sexor and the succeeding Ciao which came out in 2009 - causing barely a commercial ripple, unless you live in Belgium, where they both did quite well. Given the Canadian's DJ profile and a history of high profile collaborators - James Murphy and Matthew Dear to name but two - this lukewarm reception is somewhat confusing: Ciao especially whilst being soaked in the bass-heavy throb of its time contained more than enough grooves to break Tiga at the very least out of the Low Countries.

Having added actor to his CV since, starring in Adam Traynor's chess-themed 2010 release Ivory Tower, and also compering a show on Radio 6, the seven year wait for No Fantasy Required is partially explained. Of itself however it's something of a three-speed ride: Dear is in the producer's chair (Along with veteran Finn Jori Hulkonnen), whilst the listener themselves is taken from the  ridiculous to the sublime to - as the man himself put it in his own press release - the borderline sacrilegious.  

The self deprecating tone of these notes give more than the impression of a man who dares the world to take him seriously. Describing Jake Shears contributed vocals to Make Me Fall In Love as being created "Wearing a thong on a boat", the masterful distraction leaves behind the conceit of speed-dial collaborations and leaves a punchy, lustful sounding residue primed for the peak shakedown hours of any club. Of similar sparkling quality is his work with Hudson Mohawke on Planet E, from which is decanted the sort of twisted house of which Carl Craig was recognised as a master during his 69/Paperclip People godlike-genius era.

If they're what you might've expected, there's equally more here than meets the eye. Closer Blondes Have More Fun sounds like Shears Alma mater the Scissor Sisters stripped of their momma-pleasing good times, the bass distortion and finger picking lo-fi techno of Plush is dedicated to Bowie whilst the cover of Lene Lovich's new wave romp Lucky Number retains the original's loopy charm despite a stealthy and extensive 21st century reboot.

Back to the Contact Towers whiteboard then. Another word we've got written in big letters on it is "Consistency", one which more often than not it's the feature an artist/producer skirts round in the name of finishing off an elpee. Here Dudwatch brings us the nonsensical, presumably self parodying 3 Rules - not really worth explaining  - and the faux chic of Bugatti, proof that despite its popularity there's almost never much accounting for public taste.

Big in Belgium then, the laugh out loud quality of his own critique reassure us that the wonderful thing about Tiga's is Tiga's are wonderful things: No Fantasy Required however needs less polish and more spit before we can consider any artistic metamorphosis for him complete.


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