Recording information: Worm Studios Rotterdam (04/2015); Worm Studios Rotterdam (08/2015).
Adventures is the full-length debut of Slow Steve and the man behind the stage name, Rémi Letournelle, a Berlin-based musician who's played and recorded with indie band Fenster. The album was produced by another Fenster alum and fellow electro-pop manipulator, Tadklimp (Thomas Chousos). Constructing an approachable experimental synth pop that's catchy yet unpredictable, Slow Steve deftly holds attention as he twizzles between club-friendly dance-rock, textured instrumentals, Joy Division-inspired post-punk, and semi-spoken word reminiscent of Serge Gainsbourg, whether in French or in English. The album opens with four wistful, dance-prompting tunes, all with what seem to be primarily human rhythm sections. They're also accompanied by synth noodling that sometimes takes the form of song-defining timbres ("Sloth") and at other times appears as offbeat sound effects and noise while guitars do the heavy lifting ("Bali"). By the time the three-part "Josephine" arrives mid-album, engaged listeners will likely be receptive to its motif's journey through pastoral electronica, recited French-language text, and groove-fortified, pitch-bending ambience (guitar solo included). More mechanical-type bleeps await on "Oscillation," which also features an unorthodox saxophone-assisted groove. While maintaining a consistently spacy, electronic impression, "Foam Shapes" employs acoustic guitar, bassoon, and tasteful cymbal play among elements that ground the song, and the album, in an organic-feeling otherworldliness. An exception may be the instrumental "The Giant Spider Crab from Japan," which hums, buzzes, and echoes with a diverse palette of contrived tones and shepherded noise. Overall ambitious, but carrying lounge-worthy warmth and intangible coolness, Adventures delivers on textured art pop for the explorative set. ~ Marcy Donelson