Album review: Fanu – Serendipity [Lightless] Release date: 31 October 2011
Fanu! Fan who? These were my mom’s first words when she heard the name. She did guess he was from Finland though, so props to her. Anyway, so who is Fanu? In his own words junglist, skater, samplist, passionate dj, avid music lover, breakbeat-o-holic. The first I heard of him was “from the afterlife she speaks” via a John B studio mix, quite unusual considering the rest of the music in the mix. So yes, he’s a producer/dj/live performer from Finland, mostly known for his breakbeat influenced drum n bass/drumfunk/jungle.
So here it is, the eagerly awaited Fanu album, Serendipity (which should be in all good digital music stores October 31st 2011), at least for a fanboy such as myself. Regarding the album name I’m guessing it has to do with the life of a sample digger and that moment you find samples that were made for each other. Anyway we’ve been waiting for this (rather impatiently), since his 2009 offering Homefree. Not one to stagnate, he’s gone ahead and expanded his many styles (dnb/hip hop/downtempo), adding the newly coined dubtempo (thanks Beats For The Planet) and for the record, I dislike the practice of adding more and more sub-genres, but I feel this term will help with description.
This album starts with the now dubtempo style, in the form of Jumitus. Drums, atmospheres and a lovely bass. This new found space, that is afforded the 140ish bpm, allows Fanu to express another side of his breakbeat and samplist vocabulary. Not forgetting the junglists, he, along with fellow Finnish junglist Mineral,(who’s EP is out on Lightless digital) gives us Jupiter 2011, with its headnodding hip hop intro, dropping into some proper rudeboy amens! He continues his hip hop ting, along with my amen brother Greenleaf Selektah , or rather MC with the sounds of Shatner rap. Nice heavy beats on this, along with some drawlin-N’Orleans flow MCing.
Showing his roots, he brings us Rave like its..; a breakbeat jig, with hardcore stabs and switching drums; real throwback styles on this. Prodigy better takes some notes! We knew he couldn’t leave without at least dipping into the drum of funk right? Nuku does not fail in this regard. Shifting breaks, heavy bass and a rad switch, bringing in some mantra like vocals, definitely a favorite. Then, I can’t sleep, this was quite a surprise to me. I mean, it’s a proper “liquid”roller, not something Fanu is known for. Lovely gliding pads, deep bass with a bit o’ pitch bend in some bars. This one is gonna rock the floors hard. It also has some nice switching breaks as well. There’s this bit right at the end that the b boys or at least their inner b boy is gonna love, I hope I get to play or hear that part out.
The last few takes us into beautifully cinematic territory; Strange days, starting off like a scene from a thriller; teaming with atmosphere, lovely breaks, vocals, ending with some acid (and I love acid!) and with the announcement, from what I made out “where you’re going, the drums don’t stop!” The album ends rather introspectively with Pilvien Pȁȁȁllȁ; to me it sounds like a search for something.
My favorite of the album is definitely Paras Ystava, Ethereal vocals and melodica, along with numerous other sounds; it can’t be faulted.
My final thoughts: I, rather selfishly would have loved some more drum n bass, as that’s what I play mostly; he did say he was thinking of a drumfunk EP, so I guess I’ll just have to wait. One thing I’ve always admired about Fanu’s music and mixes was its sincerity; going all the way to the end with his tracks, even though most of us wont listen that far. Otherwise, I would have loved if it were on vinyl; there’s always a chance it might be re-issued in that format. But ya, I’ll be listening/playing this many years to come. Thanks for reading and keep supporting real music.