The French producer takes the wheel

Few 21st century artists have created a sound as singular and memorable as Kavinsky’s. The creations of the French producer are an exercise in cool and dark maximalism: big rhythms and soaring synths with a touch of science fiction. His single “Nightcall” set the tone perfectly for the opening credits of the 2011 film. To drive, Kavinsky’s burgeoning creation playing the role of an unnamed getaway driver (played by Ryan Gosling) roams downtown Los Angeles cooking up his dastardly job. The song has become synonymous with the film and defined its hit soundtrack, despite being only a few minutes long.

‘OutRun’, the concept album that followed in 2013, was equally dramatic, with the disc’s main character being a zombie who survives a crash in a Ferrari and uses his second life to create electronic music. “Driver’s license” is not that. But it left Kavinsky typecast and his designs locked him in, he recently said. NME. “I was afraid to imagine what my music was going to be after this success.”

“Reborn,” Kavinsky’s first record in nearly nine years, sounds like a more relaxed creator — he was blatant enough to tell us that this record is literally about “driving the car slower.” But what Kavinsky considers the scenic route still leaves deep tire marks: “Trigger” and “Renegade” are as ambitious and futuristic as anything he’s ever done. In fact, the album’s lead single, ‘Zenith’, was envisioned as a sequel to ‘Nightcall’ – proof that the past hangs heavy in the rearview mirror.

For purveyors of the French house scene, this record will sound familiar to a fault. Vocalist Morgan Phalen – who sang on several Justice tracks, including 2011’s “On’n On” and “New Lands” – features on four of the songs. Much of this record is infused with the aforementioned electronic duo’s trademark gothic funk, meaning some of Kavinsky’s identity is lost.

The title suggests a total rebirth, which seems like a bit of a stretch – but when Kavinsky lets go of his maximalism, the songs blossom and we see another side to his production prowess. “Zombie” has all the swagger and pep of his former collaborator The Weeknd, while the tempered nature of “Cameo” and “Renegade” allows traditional pop songwriting to coexist with bold, crisp settings. These fleeting moments are by far the most satisfying of ‘Reborn’ and prove that Kavinsky still has a long creative way to go to bombard him in the years to come.


Release date: March 25

A record label: Fiction/Music Blank France

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