Stay True – Fort Romeau
Stay / True EP
28:56 min • Ghostly International • September 16, 2013
Andrew Darley reviews
Michael Greene is the man behind Fort Romeau. The London-based producer has been found his feet as a musician from an early age as a guitarist with Al Myson (now known as Ital Tek), DJing on the Brighton dance scene and as the touring keyboardist for electro-popstar, La Roux. In 2012, Greene released his debut album Kingdoms, in which he interpreted the Chicago house genre and breathed warmth and a sleek production style that was praised for its freshness. Now the producer has moved home to label Ghostly International, who have put out two singles this year and are due to release his second full-length album in 2014.
In the interim, Greene is releasing the four-song Stay / True EP. The eponymous track confidently struts in with an appregiated synth line to open the EP. The persistent rhythm inspires a seven-minute song that encounters both atmospheric and brassy synths and airy vocals that echo the song’s title. Fort Romeau’s assured opener is the foundation for the three songs that follow. ‘Your Light’ is identifiable by its melodies sung through vocoder, done to indecipherable effect against a waddling dance beat. Greene decided to make the vinyl and digital versions special with the inclusion of different songs on each. The 12” vinyl version contains the funky ‘Trust Me’, while the digital version includes the house-belter ‘And Now’ bringing reverberating whistles and rainforest sounds to the dancefloor.
Both versions of the EP end with ‘Together’. Aptly opening with the sound of people partying, the vocoder that shone through on ‘Your Light’ returns and takes centre stage. Again, the voice is so heavily vocodered its nearly impossible to hear what is being sung and acts as a lead instrument. Much like the cover art by Michael Cina, with paints running and bleeding into one another, on this EP Greene is playing around with his palette and the sounds he has chosen to work with. It shows Fort Romeau moving away from the house-focused sound of his debut, in favour of trying out new styles. Whilst still finding his own identity and sound, he is able to create accomplished statements like disco-stomper ‘Trust Me’ and the title song.
Stay / True is a showcase of a rising artist’s passion and fun for trying out samples and patterns, whilst experimenting with the shapes they can make. It’s an accomplished and fulfilling record which definitely whets the appetite for next year’s second album release.