While the disillusion of the experimental French bass music trio Signs left a big gap in the genre’s landscape, they each promised they would be back in some form after their parting Naegleria EP on Division in early 2019. Julian and Niko have rebranded individually as Digger and Opsen respectively, with the latter being part of the already renowned Burr Oak with The Clamps. Lionel (now Le Lutin), meanwhile, has been getting back to his jungle and dub roots: working on combining amen breaks with deep bass and now re-connecting with Niko to start the hefty 174 project, Cecil Hotel.
With a few tracks on last year’s ProgRAM 100 and a halftime/techno EP on Flexout’s WAVE series, their first stand-alone D&B track makes a strong claim that Cecil Hotel (Hotel Cecil) will be all about vibes and merging old school amens, breakdowns and dub bizness with modern neuro-tinged and sometime violent synths. “Sour” is an homage to its creators’ namesake, the notorious Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Now called Stay on Main, the site is a stop on the famous Haunted Hollywood Tour due to the shocking number of freaky deaths that have occurred there from when it opened in 1927 pretty much right up until present time.
So if the guys in Cecil Hotel want the project to be all about vibes and the LA Cecil Hotel is well known for murder, does that mean “Sour” should have murderous vibes? Sort of. “It’s like when you enter a hotel and go to your room, you get a vibe,” explained Lionel. If you’re listening to any form of deep bass, you definitely get those heavy vibes: goosebumps, bass face, nostalgia, Et al., and in the case of Cecil Hotel and their debut “Sour,” absolutely murderous synths.
Said murderous bass synths on “Sour” sound more like a long train scraping the underside of multiple rusty steel bridges than a creepy hotel but they are, indeed, sour. In fact, Cecil Hotel have basically created the sonic equivalent of “sour,” and we didn’t even know we needed it. Turned into its own one-note syncopated beat pattern, this so-modern-it’s-heretofore-unheard-of sound is paired with classic jungle kicks, snares, amens, dub vocal samples and ravey backing melodies throughout the track. In the middle, however, where the “sour” synth is at its most aggressive, the beat turns imperceptibly into a more modern, almost jump up kick-driven thing that’s sure to bring the dancefloor vibe up in the Hotel.
“Sour” is meant to introduce Cecil Hotel and let fans know generally what they’re about but anyone who knew Signs will know that their unconventional approach will realize this is just the lobby. Their are 19 floors at the Cecil Hotel and 700 rooms; that’s an almost infinite number of track combinations and, like the actual hotel, you never know what’s behind each door (or “play: button).
“Sour” will release on Flexout Audio this Friday, December 18, but it’s available to purchase or stream now on the label’s Bandcamp Page.