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A blind click in the “electronic” section of Bandcamp led me to the interesting sounds of Fanu, a DJ from Helsinki. I’m lying in the sun with my eyes closed as I listen to it.

I’m not going to lie, this first track, “Sleepwalking” is uncomfortable, and feels a little forced. Okay, we’re sleepwalking, we must wake up. It’s pretty spooky on this walk. I am sensing some of this in the near future:

The euro goth drop never comes, and the bass builds in this intricate way that isn’t too fast or too slow. I’m hooked, where is he planning to bring me?

There’s an outer-space element to the album that I’m also starting to dig. He’s using sound effects that seem familiar, from a video game? The X-Files, maybe. About two minutes in, this song turns into a beautiful ambiance, and with that I am completely on Fanu’s side. I haven’t really heard anything like this, but it kind of reminds me of the dance-y, yet relaxed element that Araabmuzic mastered with his first release, Electronic Dream.

The Strange Lights concept is confirmed with “Dreamer’s Union,” weaving a sample of a conversation between two men about an eerie light before them with spacey, laser beam sounds. I’m not super crazy about it. Skip.

“Beetroots and Felt Boots” has my attention immediately, with its inclusion of samples by some gorgeous vocals that sort of sound like Billie Holiday over fast-paced drums. Fanu starts to weave in some hip-hop elements in this track, but brings them in full force on the next track: “Jive,” which is my favorite song on the record. I think he is sampling DOOM, or someone who sounds just like him, again over a creative combination of fast-paced drums and woozy bass.

There are times when Fanu gets a little cheesy. Maybe if I had a better sound system, songs like “Neverending” would sound better, but it’s a little too gritty for my little laptop speaker.

Strange Lights overall is an intriguing combination between jungle house elements and Internet-influenced sounds which is right up my alley as of late. I can’t track down exactly what his samples are or if they’re intentional, but his use of familiar video game sound effects and rap samples make me want to be friends with this guy because he’s probably interested in some cool stuff.

Apparently he is also a producer, a label founder and has worked with Bill Laswell and an accomplished Ethiopian songwriter named Gigi. Neat-o. I’ll probably listen to him again.


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