Press play: Tiga, Ciao! (Last Gang Records)
Welcome to another edition of Press Play in which we highlight new music that’s worth investigating even if it didn’t quite fit in this week’s issue.
Montreal's maestro of new-century electro entered the solo artist main stage through the DJ's karaoke room—his now quite old underground hits "Sunglasses at Night" and "Hot in Herre" were shameless and basically flawless back-to-basics covers of club staples. Tiga claims he started singing because his collaborators wouldn't let him mess with their drum machines. But Tiga, though a rave renaissance man who's run a record shop, a label and remixed just about everyone, makes his bread-in-butter at deejaying, as a recent set opening for the Prodigy made clear. Plus, his last full-length album, Sexor, was hardly the break-out that his fans hoped for. Tunes like "(Far from) Home" had a stronger pop quality than typical house, but the album on the whole wasn't the banging good time that anyone hoped for—still, it won a June award. On Ciao!, we get Tiga the singer, the DJ and the trendsetter all at once.
Ciao! plays up fantasies of luxury amid damaged, distorted hooks which serve as gritty foils to Tiga's boychild vox. Inspired by the likes of Robert Palmer, he works a blue-eyed soul whisper through the whole shebang, but it is, in DJ parlance, a "trackier" affair where the tunes show the hand of producers who'd like this music blasting from a PA tower in a bunker somewhere. Soulwax is once again producing, but the Belgians aren't leaving the singer to carry all the weight. When the microphone goes down, the beats and basslines burn on.
Tiga can also be funny, maybe not hilarious, but as on his video for his single "Shoes," he manages a slightly self-effacing wit that adds to the experience of a song about a girl who won't do anything the slickster asks her, not even take off her shoes. He's also released an interview video that gives VBS's Soft Focus program a good run for its money in the absurdity department. Tiga's having a shitload of a fun on Ciao! and it's about time we had a bit of that, too.