French electro becomes undead in Kavinsky’s OutRun (Album review)

Kavinskys OutRun Album review 1

It’s no mystery that Paris, FR is a treasure trove of electronic music goodness with artists like Daft Punk & Justice representing. Another great electro mastermind is Kavinsky, an artist who has performed with both of the aforementioned artists. Hopefully, you’re already familiar with him from his 2006 debut EP, Teddy Boy; or more recently his track Nightcall, which was featured on the movie Drive. You may be wondering why we’re featuring this album on a gaming site. Kavinsky is part artist, part animated story. It tells the story of an undead man who haunts the roads in his red Ferrari Testarossa, like in the Sega arcade game Outrun. Kavinsky’s first album also shares the title of this game, OutRun. Additionally, his music has also been inside of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, who are celebrated for their soundtracking. OutRun serves as both an album and a “best of” of sorts because it includes the high points from Kavinsky’s discography along with several new tracks.

Kavinsky DJing at Coachella

The album takes you on a cinematic adventure, which tells it’s story through light narration and a series of grimy yet shiny electronic compositions. OutRun is drenched in synthesizers, tinged with gallant electric guitar solos, and backed by tight electronic drums, a signature of French electro. Blizzard and Prototype do not bother to wow you with elevator builds and epic bass drops, instead they allow the walking-beat groove to carry the rhythm while distorted synths dramatically trail off in the background. Odd Look harkens back to 1979, reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack work but given a touch of strange humanity thanks to vocals by fellow French electro producer, SebastiAn. The late 70’s soundtrack vibe continues into the disco-horror strings of Rampage which then ends once Suburbia comes on. A surprising twist, it’s a rap by NY rapper Havoc (of Mobb Deep) about being undead and having a Ferarri. It’s deep synthesized sound somewhat reprises Kavinsky’s Nightcall and serves as a good change of scenery for the album. Testarossa Autodrive then thrusts the album back into it’s 80’s drenched electro vibe, featuring a brisk pace and serious synthesizer sequencing. For many, this was their introduction to Kavinsky and it’s still a damn good track. The pace slows on Nightcall, which includes airy synthesized vocals and hook vocals by Lovefoxxx (of CSS). The glazing on this cake is the co-production by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk. Shifting gears back to the electro 80’s sound, complete with electronic tom drums and synth stabs, Deadcruiser continues OutRun. It leads up to the dramatic Grand Canyon, which is over layed with Vangelli’s like synth pads. Clean drums introduce First Blood, which then gets the guitars and synth treatment in conjunction with the emotive voice of UK vocalist, TysonRoadgame continues the story with piano and strings which inevitably get married with tight electronic drums. This track easily could serve as the dramatic finally to any 80’s movie. The credits roll as Endless begins, featuring narration which ends the story of the “dead cruiser.” Lighter and airier than most of the tracks on the album, but no less 80’s obsessed. Once again providing extremely dramatic composition further enhanced by the Moroder-esque production values.

Kavinsky's OutRun Album Art
Kavinsky’s OutRun Album Art

As fans of electronic music, this album serves as great listening music. I wrote this post while listening to the album and it was very enjoyable. Furthermore, for DJ’s and the like, the album provides a few mood changers that can be played, although nothing on it is the traditional banger that we’ve come to expect from Paris. Regardless, Kavinsky has a great sound and has made fit an entire album. An album which I enjoyed.

Should you buy it? Yes, we highly recommend OutRun by Kavinsky.

You can preview OutRun by Kavinsky below…

OutRun has been released by Record Makers. You can get on CD & vinyl via Amazon. You can also purchase it digitally via Amazon & iTunes.

Nerd Corner: On an interestingly cool note, Kavinsky posted a picture of Yu Suzuki (the former head of AM2 and creator of classic Sega games OutRun, Virtua Fighter, After Burner, Hang-On, and Shenmue) holding a vinyl copy of his album. So if the red Testarossa and album title didn’t tip you, now you know Kavinsky is also a gamer. Check out the picture on his Facebook.

Kavinsky Official Site

Kavinsky Facebook

Kavinsky Twitter

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