Album Review: Para One - SPECTRE: Machines of Loving Grace

French musician and filmmaker Para One releases his first album since 2014's 'Club.'
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Para One

Para One

French musician and filmmaker Para One, real name Jean-Baptiste de Laubier, has released his first proper artist album in seven years titled SPECTRE: Machines of Loving Grace.

With Machines of Loving Grace, Para One felt the need to do something a bit different. He released previous albums Passion and Club in 2012 and 2014 respectively and has been doing mostly soundtrack work since then.

“I needed to break away from patterns and systematisms of formats, and take unexpected turns. To do so, I had first to allow myself to do so,” explains Para One.

This has led him to this record, which feels more in tune to soundtrack work with softer, celestial compositions that aren’t geared for the dancefloor like his mini-hit of 2014 “You Too.” Tracks like “Sundial” lay bare that contrast with beautiful beatless euphoria, using synths in a rhythmic pattern to guide a soaring, airy composition.

He recorded with musicians from around the world like drum bands in Bali, choirs in Sofia, percussion troops in Japan and more. This all helped create the differing perspectives you get on this album.

Machines of Loving Grace is also smooth and progressive with tracks like “Alpes” “Yret,” which could be a Pryda EP deep cut if the Swede also added some field recordings to his music.

The formless shape of this album continues through the end with “Silicon Jungle” where is works with Balinese percussion band Suar Agung, which plays the jegog and provides a deep rhythmic backbone to the track and a booming twist to the LP. The drums continue into the final track “Futatsu No Taiyo," which means “two suns” in Japanese, where he worked with professional taiko drumming troupe Kodō, who also appear on several other album track, for a furious finish to the album.

Para One sheds the confines of traditional dance music for his new album for music that more closely aligned with soundtrack work and the free format it can provide. There are moments that can work with the dancefloor, but it is not designed for that purpose, rather to live outside of that in other settings. 

Pick up your copy of SPECTRE: Machines of Loving Grace here

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