It’s strikingly rare for a DJ to carve out their sound as confidently and distinctively as French artist Ethel has steadily done over the past couple of years. Her rambunctious sets across Paris, Berlin and beyond have quickly made her a must-see. It was only right that her first solo EP would be released by closely affiliated Parisian collective RA+RE and the three tracks wonderfully showcase her musical philosophy.
‘Santanico Pandemonium’ tips off listeners and dutifully delivers on its promise of pandemonium. Not one to play run-of-the-mill music during her sets, Santanico Pandemonium instantly delivers personality to the dancefloor. The track is essentially split into three acts, with vintage key progressions and bustling drums helping to kick-start it, before the second edges into speed garage territory with hasty hi-hats and a driving bassline intent on kicking the tempo up a few gears.
The closing act offers up a shuffling bassline that’s anchored by the returning hi-hats, which slice deeper with every repetition as well as the head-spinning vocals. The mixing ensures there are no interruptions to the flow between sections and the vocals, from Roberto Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, stitch the track together by posing the question ‘Do you think about me?’ throughout.
Also featuring on the EP and continuing the theme of dancefloor pandemonium is B1’s ‘Moustic’. To call the track anything but completely bonkers would be an injustice, the grimacing and wobbling bassline takes control of your body and is a surefire bet to whip up even the most prudent of dancers. Ethel’s penchant for quirky music is illustrated best in Moustic, mostly thanks to the bassline but also courtesy of breakdowns which feature a distant dialogue about turning the music down and a scrunching acid bassline that oozes character.
Whilst Santanico Pandemonium and Moustic are fun in the way they increase the energy levels on a dancefloor, B2’s ‘Colonial’ is fun in a far more overt way. The distinctive key progressions will cause a break-out of smiles beyond the turntables whilst the new wave guitar-inspired bassline injects a hefty dose of funk as the track breaks down into a narcotic combination of vocals and a melting 303 before the bassline gleefully crashes the party.