French Kiwi Juice

French Kiwi Juice

Roche Musique, 2017

http://www.frenchkiwijuice.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 05/17/2018

A French/New Zealand native multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and DJ from the city of Tours, Vincent Fenton (also known as FKJ) has made significant waves in the New French House scene despite his very humble beginnings. Previously a sound engineer in cinemas, Fenton penned his first tune at age 14 and taught himself guitar, bass, saxophone, piano, and others. Though he's a staple in the French electronica circles, he actually describes his music as a combination of hip-hop, funk, jazz, and soul.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

On the heels of two successful EPs, this first full length is actually an ambitious double album, though opening tune “We Ain't Feeling Time” lets us know that FKJ can handle the task. This track is a sophisticated and sleek beginning. Smooth saxophone dominates the tune and is met with soft backing vocals before an elegant hip-hop experience takes over. “Skyline” follows and is a more electronica affair with a calm atmosphere made for late night lounging, and “Better Give U Up” follows a similar path with a more soulful aspect.

As we get deeper into the listen, the songs evolve even more, with the vocal effects and club feel of “Go Back Home” and the soft organ balladry of “Vibin' Out With (((O)))” that shifts into a darker, smoky, contemplative mood. “Canggu” rounds out the first LP with an eclectic approach that uses saxophones, pianos, and plenty of tempo changes with a cultural, instrumental beauty.

The second LP is equally creative, featuring the vintage jazz meets modern electronica of “Die With A Smil,” as well as the sampled vocals and calculated synth of “Lying Together.” Near the end, the album moves into the house-heavy and highly sampled “Joy,” which touches on funk. The final tune, “Why Are There Boundaries,” is an album highlight, where a calm, agile atmosphere is punctuated with R&B, soothing rhythm, and extremely thoughtful musicianship.

With an obvious mainstream appeal and similarities to stars like Frank Ocean, I doubt FKJ will remain a secret for very long. Best to become a fan now before everyone else does, especially if you're looking for a new twist on today's pop music.

Rating: B+

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