Midnight Funk album cover
Midnight Funk

Demon

1999
Small

Jérémie Mondon was yet another member of the French touch contingent who came to dance music after an early fascination with hip-hop, dropping a string of late ’90s EPs that culminated in a noteworthy debut album. Midnight Funk became a critical darling in France that arrived during the late stages of French touch’s initial saturation period, earning some solid support domestically but remaining overlooked outside the country. And it’s a mystery as to why: not only is Midnight Funk less given to the quirkier fromage-ry that aroused suspicion from skeptics of the scene, it’s easily one of the straight-up funkiest-yet-prettiest pieces of work to come out of that whole moment. It still wears its disco heart on its sleeve, and lets it beat resonate loudly on tracks like the “Street Life”-sampling, bass-rich dynamics of its title cut and the Étienne de Crécy-assisted, electric piano-buoyed “Funkasized version” of his breakout single “Lil’Fuck.” But this is disco noir, a sleek and jazzy take on filter house that plays up an ineffable overlapping mood of eroticism and melancholy. “Now That I Have You” is stunning, too: a heartbreaker built around bracingly icy jazz piano, submersed wah-wah guitar, hushed gasps of either ecstasy or loneliness, and the kind of velvet-bass/crystalline-kick 4/4 that fits long night drives just as well as it does dancefloors. Beyond that, there are so many tracks that thrive not just off Demon’s deep well of funk but his ear for negative space and airy depth: the urban-canyon atmosphere of “My City,” the snappy elasticity of early ’80s boogie tribute “Blunted People,” and especially the ghostly soul-jazz glide of closer “Heartbreaker."

Nate Patrin

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