Amsterdam-based duo Makèz is returning on Heist Recordings with an impressively mature debut album called « City Of All », built like a colorful palette of styles blending their wide influences and creating a truly unique musical piece.

Born and raised in the South of Holland, this Dutch duo operates from the vivid scene of Amsterdam for the past 10 years. They signed their debut EP on Dam Swindle’s Heist Recordings back in 2019 after handing their demos on a USB stick at their own party. This debut release led to 2 more EPs in 2020, on Jacques Renault’s imprint Let’s Play House.

Here they present their debut album, « City of All », carefully crafted during the past year and originated from a studio retreat where the duo immersed itself in musical production, with no limitations in terms of styles.

The result is an impressive album demonstrating a high level of sophistication and maturity. The whole LP really caught my attention because it follows the same path that I’m follwing with my label Broken District since launching it: creating bridges between genres and all my influences. First of all, this album is all about this, and secondly it really touches me because we clearly share a lot of influences, being jazz, funk, house music and downtempo electronic music.

That said, you can really feel the amount of work that Makèz put into this album-concept because they are succeeding in offering a wide range of musical atmospheres and yet they have a strong story to tell and the whole LP is consistent throughout its 13 tracks.

The jazz-funk opening track “The Entrance” kicks off the album in a really relaxed styled, almost like improvised rhythms and notes played during the soundcheck of a jazz band. It is then catalyzed in a funky house form that really works well as an introductive track. That energy also oozes from “Not So Different”, which features the smooth vocals of LYMA. The song is brilliantly funky and showcases the songwriting and arrangement talent of Makèz, who cleverly use pop & soul cues to create one of the album’s best tracks.

What follows are 4 cuts ranging from the syncopated balearic funk of “Orbit” that we are here premiering on Electrocorp, the strings of album title track “City of All” (one of the highlights of the album for us), the organ-led deep-house jam “Gonna Getya » and the downbeat “Sonder”.

Allysha Joy – best known for performing in the Melbourne collective 30/70 – is featured on the deep and jazzy cut “Looking up”. Allysha’s performance perfectly complements Makèz’ production on this track, where the deep bass, warm harmonies and jazzy percussions prove to be a perfect foundation for Allysha’s voice.

Far from being only an album to be listened at home that, the LP offers quite a few bits of dancefloor-oriented tracks, such as one of its heaviest cuts, « Bent With Funk », and the distorted filter funk of “Roselane” featuring our dearest friends Fouk. These house tracks really come to life in this album format.

As said above, no compromise has been made to storytelling. Both club moments and down-times play their part and trust me, this need to be highlighted  because it isnt seen often on most of the electronic music albums that are put out. The expert production and smart arrangements from Makèz really give this album an overall relaxed and funky feel. They showcase a remarkable talent for writing an album that visits many different places, extracting the best parts of these in order to create a unique piece of contemporary music.