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Music Review: Breakbot – ‘You Should Know’

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The summer of 2013 might go down as the season when new wave disco, with a touch of AM gold, ruled the airwaves, brought on in large part to the popularity of Daft Punk’s huge hit “Get Lucky” and their album Random Access Memories. Adding to that unique genre is a crafty EP from Breakbot, the French DJ and multi-instrumentalist best known for his mixes of songs by the likes of Royksopp and Chromeo. The EP You Should Know is a six-song set from Ed Banger/Because/Sire Records. The set comprises the original version, an alternate take, and four top-shelf remixes.

breakbotThe original “You Should Know” first appeared on Breakbot’s 2012 record By Your Side. The song features vocals by Ruckazoid. The song is smooth and infectious, buoyed by a thick, yet spry bass line that sits in a deep and satisfying groove. The chorus is among the catchiest of the year. Its appeal is further enhanced by a racy YouTube video.The alternate take of “You” is sparser at the outset, but sticks to the same chorus as the original, while the Swiss remix echoes a more Iberian vibe, sounding like Delorean had their way with the song. It’s most impressive in the chorus, with added layers of keyboards and percussive backbeat.

The Homework ‘Le Bain’ mix starts off with whispers of Everything But the Girls’ “Five Fathoms”. This remix starts with deep house but expands into a silky smooth and sunset-ready jam, best enjoyed on a beach lounge or a late evening wind-down jam. The give and take of the beat flows well over the vocals. Busy P and Boston Bun break the song down to an almost unrecognizable level, adding in layers of early ’80s New York City dance pop. The vocals weave in and out as the song relaxes in to a looping groove. It’s the most ambitious of the remixes, sitting far afield of the original, but it works.

The Le Family Cub remix is a more understated effort. It takes a few listens to really get what they were going for here, especially with the manipulated vocals. It has some nice drops and a few dissonant breaks. But the real hook is the silky smooth keyboard riff, effortless and evocative. As with many songs that you need to listen to multiple times to get, the effect is one that ultimately stays with you after the fact.

In all, the You Should Know EP is a strong collection of remixes, a sonic template for what makes successful remixes that enhance, rather than take away, from the source material. It’s made easier by the fact that the original is such an exceptional piece of music. For fans of Daft Punk’s latest, or really any kind of synth pop and funky rhythms, this is a definite top-shelf recommendation. And here’s hoping that Breakbot’s profile rises in the record’s wake.

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