Passion, Paris-based Para One’s third full-length album, is an aptly titled work of strange and sublime pop music. Released June 18th on his own Marble Music (cofounded with Bobmo and Surkin), the 12-song EP plays across and in between genres effortlessly, leaping gleefully from hip-hop to IDM, from grimy warehouses at dawn to moody, epic soundscapes.
Those hoping for pummeling club hits akin to Para One’s earlier work (2006’s “Dundun-Dun” set a new standard for modern electro-house) may be dismayed. Passion is perhaps digging more deeply into the producer’s hip-hop roots, while simultaneously looking farther into a strange and beautiful future where smart, weird pop music actually makes people fall in love.
Highlights include the dark, ambient opening track, “Ice Cold.” While ringing in at under two minutes, the mournful chords create a space for the album to exist that is somehow separate from the mundane and everyday. Flowing onward, “Every Little Thing” (featuring Irfane and longtime collaborator Teki Latex) is an exceptionally magical piece of music; a tender, bold, sweet, hopeful pop song. The lead single, “Lean on Me,” continues in this theme, only to be interrupted with the dark switchback of “Sigmund,” textured, ferocious, classic electro. The album skates from low-rider grooves (“Love Ave”) to twisted funk (“When the Night”) and closes with some lush, sample heavy, divine night driving music (“Empire”).
At once subtle and eclectic, bold and tender, Passion is evidently a labor of love. I sincerely hope these beautiful tracks are played as lights-up last songs in the club, or while listeners dive into their own Passions, whatever they may be. Brilliant.