If you’re not familiar with Folamour (“Strangelove” in French) yet, clear the next hour of your schedule and educate yourself. The frenchman is a relative newcomer, but he’s a busy man, founding labels For Heaven Use Only Records and co-founding Moonrise Hill Material, as well as releasing deep disco cuts under his own name. He’s only been releasing music for a couple of years, but his 2017 has been prolific, releasing a range of EP’s as well as his latest offering, the well rounded “Umami”.

This album truly has versatility about it, combining aspects of jazz, house, disco and hip hop – even your most selective group of friends will find something to love.

A lot of this album seems like an ode to Japanese culture, and ‘Night of desirable objects’ kicks off with a Japanese sample and haunting pianos, before launching into a four to the floor drumline and rousing keys. There are distinct Jazz elements to it, building layers upon layers into the breakdown, bringing the soulful vocals that drive the track onwards. The mood now set, ‘Ya’ll Right’ brings in a beautiful sample, heavy drums and some hip hop elements, while the baseline the ticks away in the background without overpowering. Sprinkle in some horns, and the music ebbs and flows in waves, transporting you back to a different era.

Then comes ‘Petit Prince Du Macadam’. After building up the groove in the first two tracks, this comes as an early palate cleanser. Stepping away from the house vibes, it leans into a hip-hop groove, with an infectious pitched up sample preaching love and the party life. This is a truly upbeat affair that has you nodding your head instinctively with a tight guitar riff just tickling you in all the right places. It’s the shortest song on the album, which is slightly disappointing, but just showcases the range of Folamour.

‘Ivoire’ brings us back to the bread and butter of this artist. A delicate disco ride, utilising a repetitive guitar and piano sample and male led chorus, backed by bongo drums and crisp claps, sax and a strutting baseline, this track has a real hypnotic quality to it, and engages with you right until the end. ‘Look at me or I’ll steal your eyes’ goes the other way and is the most softly spoken of all the tracks with a real lounge feel. This feels best served in a cocktail bar, and could easily go by unnoticed. However, it is not without its charms.

As there is no track called “Umami”, ‘Devoted to U’ is easily the headline act of the album, and the world agrees, having already received support from one of Defected Records stars, Sam Devine. Seamlessly melding house and disco with a delicious sample from disco royalty Earth Wind and Fire’s track ‘Devotion’. He starts with it sped up, working the listener into a lather, then he drops the tempo, keeping you hook, line and sinker. Sliding into a blissful breakdown, he hints at the end, before building you back up again for one last injection of goodness. A 10 minute treat.

It’s ‘Oyabun’s job to bring you back down off cloud nine, with a song that could have been taken out off the soundtrack of “You Only Live Twice” in it’s level of suaveness. It plays with the various samples, chopping and changing them seamlessly.

If ‘Devoted to U’ was the main course, ‘Kickflippin that stuff’ is the nightcap before bed. Another hip-hop influenced beat which perfectly matches the cheeky, soulful vocal sample, it invokes the imagery of sitting by a warm fireplace, brandy in hand. Swelling guitar riffs loop in the background, but the vocal sample is the hero of this track. Finishing with ‘Jah Love’ feels fitting, the rolling percussion lead track with soft synths gently bringing you back to the real world.

Rating: ★★★★

“Umami” is available everywhere now via Classic Music Company, and Aussie fans can catch him around the country right now as he brings “Umami” to us in all its live goodness – click the artwork for more details

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