Though the ceaseless EDM and dubstep movement has roots in the DJ community, the actual amount of record-scratching going on is pretty minimal. Perhaps that’s because multi-DMC World championship winning French scratch-DJ quartet C2C (short for Coups 2 Cross) have spent nearly 15 years before releasing a full-length debut. While they’ve already ascended to the top of the scratching circuit, Tetra stands as their mission statement, a diverse blend of genres chopped together by four master chefs.
Opener “The Cell” strides into familiar territory, a huge drop furnished by bassy synths, flute, and samples of a choir. The strident beat and swaggery double-speed vocals embody the opulent, goofy, triumph of a party featured on the album’s cover. And, being long-traveled veterans in the scene, they know the importance of both a flowing experience and a short attention span. As such, the camera seamlessly swivels over to the smash cut commercial of “Down the Road”, where blues meets Daft Punk.
Splicing pieces of other genres into your own film is one thing, but projecting yourself into another genre is a messy arrangement. The up-tempo pop slam of “Because of You” casts Pigeon John in a pale Gorillaz facsimile. As a counterpoint, “King’s Season” strives for a seductive, epic hip-hop groove, but often clutters up Rita J.’s rhymes, as if each of the four DJs all need to prove that they’re contributing something. The airy “Give Up the Ghost” builds an ambience only to distance itself under an abundance of flourishes. This sort of work proves an extreme degree of skill, though without the impactful emotionalism of fellow Frenchmen Air.
The blistering “Happy”, though, returns the quartet to the fore, with Derek Martin’s vocals coming from a Little Richard tradition that indulges in some classical brazenness. As such, the tweaks and scratches stand out more prominently — their on-the-fly mastery matching the strength of Martin’s delivery. The skittering flamenco guitar samples and charred vinyl of “Together” leaves the mouth agape at the precision of their DJ talents. Fans of instrumental mastery will find plenty to admire in C2C’s long-awaited debut, though the technicality of the scratching often overshadows the feelings intended within the music.
Essential Tracks: “The Cell”, “Happy”