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    Fantasmas Fake Four

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Review Text Alexander Zavala is best known to underground hip-hop heads as half of Dark Time Sunshine, but the Chicago-based producer has also been making dance tracks for years. His full-length Fantasmas primarily focuses on his club side, constructing energetic tracks with analog synths and samplers. Naturally, his music is heavily inspired by the Chicago house scene, particularly the grittiness of the genre's early, more underground days, but it's not an exercise in nostalgic re-creation. There's also the syncopation and ecstatic bounce of U.K. garage, as well as enough choppy vocal effects to match any style of dance music with the "future" prefix. The tracks all average a relatively succinct four minutes each, never meandering endlessly or repeating ideas for too long. Aside from the brief, eerie experimental track "Floats Like Empty," all of the songs are urgent and filled with vibrant melodies. At times, it gets a little glossy and EDM-like, but only to an extent. Tracks like "Ruemair & FTW" and "The INS" have a touch of darkness to them, with somewhat spooky, echo-flared vocal snippets expressing moments of despair and loneliness. Moments like these are countered by the blissful "Chrysalis," which features a sparkly synth melody and sweet, classy vocals by Sara Z. "Protection Cloak" is a bit more trippy, with a half-time rhythm and several shades of warped, woozy textures, but it's still alert and focused, and comes together nicely. Closing track "Roosevelt & Letting Go" is a touch more melancholy, but also alert and arresting, with slapping beats and broken-hearted melodies. Definitely not a purist dance album by any means, this one is recommended to listeners of genre-blurring artists like Kaytranada, Jacques Greene, and Tourist. ~ Paul Simpson

Track Listing

Record: 1

  1. 1. Mirrors - 4:52
  2. 2. IFS - 4:02
  3. 3. Floats Like Empty - 3:05
  4. 4. Ruemair & FTW - 5:35
  5. 5. Chrysalis - 4:18
  6. 6. INS - 4:22
  7. 7. ARPDreamth - 4:46
  8. 8. Protection Cloak - 3:26
  9. 9. Roosevelt & Letting Go - 5:43

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