Record Review - 3 August 21 2002

My approach to sampling has taken another meaning in the last two years, writes Marc Leclair, aka Akufen, in the liner notes to his debut album, My Way. “I’ve realized that most of the sampling artists out there were in fact robbing the actual hooks of valued parts of the tracks.”?

So Leclair decided to do things more randomly. The rural Montreal house producer began waking up and recording his dial-twists on his regular and shortwave radio tuners, turning the most striking sound jumbles into finished tracks. ?

Too often, the “glitch” approach in dance music comes across more like aimless channel surfing than any sort of idealized information overload. Ironically enough, given his methodology, Akufen proves a major exception.?

My Way merges two of house’s more conceptual recent strains: the grainy, dub-happy “microhouse” of German labels like Kompakt and Perlon, and the fast-darting cut-and-snipped sample fantasias of religiously minded New Jersey garage producer Todd Edwards. “Deck the House” and “Wet Floors” take Edwards’ sample-choir approach — dozens of minute snippets threaded together like a string of paper dolls, where each component is a different shape and color — even further into the abstract. “Late Night Munchies” is a 10-minute tour de force of suspension and release, balancing a small handful of sound-shards — glittering chimes, piano tinkle, dozens of unidentifiable clicks and clanks — over an insistent beat. By the time the album ends, with the pulsating “My Way,” the random sounds have subsided, as if exhausted — only to come out again for a slap-happy encore.-- Michaelangelo Matos