Felix Cartal “Different Faces” via Dim Mak Records

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Felix Cartal is such a nice guy. We’re not buddies or anything, but he did pre-release his upcoming album Different Faces on Soundcloud, which means you can basically listen to it whenever you want before it’s released on March 27th. I’d say that simple gesture puts him in the nice guy bracket. That’s my thought anyway as I sit here listening to the stream and dissecting the minutiae of the album while constructing this review.

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The first thing that comes to mind while listening to Felix is that guy is one of very few producers these days that has decided to go with prominent male vocals vs. the more common sexy female vocals. The album’s second track “H.U.N.T.,” featuring fellow Canadian Sebastian Grainger, iterating my perspective; I find that this is one of the most out-of-place tracks on any album that I have listened to in 2012. Just because it’s incongruous with the rest of the album doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad track; it would work perfectly as a “bonus track.” I have a hard time getting over the rant about being “so wasted” and “tasteless” and on the “H.U.N.T.” It gets old real quick.

The preceding paragraph notwithstanding, seasoned Cartal listeners will funnel comfortably into their musical boroughs. The third track, “Triple Deke” must be homage to Canada’s pastime—hockey. Or Felix might just like Charlie Conway (Mighty Ducks) that much. Either way, “Triple Deke” picks up where the first track leaves off, an uphill journey of beats and synths leading listeners to another level. Although, the next track “Higher” features screeching male vocals it still packs Cartal’s signature stop-and-go beats—a good sign of things to come.

The final nine tracks could’ve made the album a whole by themselves. Beginning with a laid-back banger, “City of Love” feat. Katrina Noorbergen and followed by another hot track that has been featured numerously around the Internet, “Don’t Turn On The Lights” feat. Polina; the latter is already a proven banger and you’ll understand why after a brief listen.

“Domo” is a nice little treat that magnifies Cartal’s production expertise while taking you into another world of production that wasn’t known in the first few songs. “The Race” holds the same value as “Domo.”

Moving forward to one of the best tracks of the album, maybe of the year, is “Black to White” feat. Miss Palmer. This track is already screaming, “I want to be played loud, real loud.” While this has yet to begin its ascension into the main stream, it’s just on the cusp and will be a prominent transition for the young producer to great success. Just keep the dudes out of the harmonies.

The album continues its successes through the end and is a true showcase of Felix’s talent. The only complaint, a minor one, is the album feels like it should have been flipped, at least for a few tracks. The beginning just feels like it’s not as welcoming as it should be. Overall I really do commend this album—it is one that I will be playing super loud for others and will be passing it along with good graces…I’ll just be saying, “skip track two and four.”