Album of the Day: Pascale Project, “Be Urself”

Classic house spun with sincerity—that’s been Montreal producer Pascale Project‘s modus operandi since self-releasing her debut in 2015. She stays true to this style on the Be Urself EP, released on Ohio’s internationalist, genre-blurring Orange Milk label. Like her Canadian compatriots Project Pablo and the Mood Hut collective, she draws on the soulful tenets of house music. But she stands herself apart with her vocals: cleanly produced, glossy house beats are overlaid with positive exultations delivered in her idiosyncratic tenor, encouragements to let go of your inhibitions or embrace self-love.

She’s previously cited Kerri Chandler as an influence, and his New Jersey sound is audible on the EP’s standout title track, where a fast-played, ear-pricking sequence of chords are propelled forward by a jacking beat. There’s melancholy, too, on “What?!?,” aching synths underlaid with old-school snare hits and a gentle, insistent bassline.

But it’s her singing style, again, which really marks her out. On opening track “Let Us Go,” propelled by a taut kick drum, acid bassline, and warm synths, she sings, “Let yourself go / Let us have a good time.” The vocals are high in the mix, and pitched at a lower register than most female dance vocals. It casts the lyrics in an earnest light, conjuring a feeling distinct from other club tracks which express the same sentiments; the tracks’ feel-good calls-to-action sound more muted and less dramatic, but also carry greater weight.

-Jake Hulyer

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