Album Review: Marc Houle / ‘Undercover’ (Items & Things)


Marc Houle develops an appreciation of ’80s electro and house, paying homage with vampish tactics and stirring in his own ingredients, so as to retell the tale of ‘in the beginning there was Jack.’ Having shifted from long-term employers M_Nus, the Canadian connoisseur in club basics has tracks backtracking toward standard synthesized shock and awe. The title track is of a pointed cleanness staring right through you, and “Under the Neath” pushes electro-techno headfirst into the abyss, while the authentic excellence of “Juno 6660” reopens warehouses from twenty five years ago. Roule is also hypnotic before you can exclaim so, with a sense of the improvised to the swirling rhythms of “Very Bad.”

Under another selector’s tutelage Undercover, whose scope and execution is actually cautious to the point of being stifled, could have been a throwaway case of dance floor stealth. Plugging in, powering up and a lot of the time playing pilot rather than personality, Houle gamely adopts presets more than turning away from them, but maximizes with 45 minutes of the highly jackable. Through ping-pong rhythms and elevated beeping and squeaking (the childlike rummages through the tool and toy-box of “Bink”), it’s a true understanding of the man-machine alliance.
File under: Rosaire Argyle; Run Stop Restore; Click Box