Ark Arkpocalypse Now

It has been five years since Parisian producer Guillaume Berroyer's last album, Caliente, but it was time well spent. Ark's fourth full-length, wittily named Arkpocalypse Now, demonstrates serious progress in the studio, presenting near-flawless production values while his signature brand of micro-edits slide between bouncy house beats. The album caters to the focused home listener as much as the flailing dance floor, as the fuzz-soaked, ambiguously moody "Gaz" and the richly layered pop of Lizzie-sung tracks "Mini Puince" and "Sugar Of Brain" reveal undeniable songwriting and sampling sophistication, an ear for subtle melodies and field recording placement. Importantly, that sophistication is coupled with frequent throwback funk and cheesy '80s sounds, and all the cheeky humour one would expect from an associate of Mr. Oizo and Krikor, which keeps the listener from taking it all too seriously. Ark even features Barack Obama saying his empowering campaign slogan between shouting "Chicago," having the President nod to one of the birthplaces of house. Arkpocalypse Now has a lot of fun with itself. (Perlon)