Jean-Philippe Altier's first full-length excursion as Jpye, 2021's Samba With You, was heralded a contemporary Balearic pop gem - a superbly summery, sun-kissed set full of atmospheric instrumentation, colourful synth sounds, strong songs and star turns from a wide variety of musical friends and guest performers.
Bleu Your Mind, his hotly anticipated follow-up, takes a similar sonic approach to its predecessor, with Altier being joined in the studio by friends old (vocalist e11e, keyboardist Michael T and fellow Twonk members Leonidas and Renato Tonini all reprise their roles from 'Samba With You') and new (Da Roc and Iamrobd) on a set that effortlessly mixes and matches elements of nu-disco, jazz-funk, laidback synth-pop, Italo-disco and Balearic beats.
Those who savoured 'Samba With You' will feel at home right away, as e11e sings softly and sweetly atop the gentle Latin infused shuffle, dusk-ready instrumentation and chiming vibraphone solos of 'Freedom Ain't Free'. French composer and keyboardist Da Roc makes his first appearance on the following track, the duelling electric pianos and synths of sun-splashed instrumental Balearic pop gem 'You Freak Out', before e11e returns on the throbbing and suspenseful 'Shiver'- a re-imagined and genuinely glassy-eyed cover of Marie Laure Sachs' sleazy 1978 Italian disco jam of the same name.
So it continues, with Altier and his collaborators painting scintillating sonic pictures in kaleidoscopic colours. Impeccable arrangements and pin-sharp instrumentation work in perfect harmony with seductive grooves that pack plenty of subtle swing. Even more impressively, 'Bleu Your Mind' is an album that genuinely rewards repeat listens, with each successive spin revealing more musical touches and cannily crafted melodic motifs.
As a result, highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the delay-laden jazz-funk-goes-electrofunk fizz of 'Xcuse My French' (with Da Roc), and the humid afternoon heat of 'Va La-Bas' - a gorgeous and immersive, sunset-ready affair produced alongside Renato and featuring dazzling kets from Michael T) - to the slow-motion Gallic/Italian reggae-pop of 'Tutto OK' (a nod to the tropical-tinged reggae sounds created in France during the 1980s), and the slap-bass sporting, smoothed-out (but low-down) grooves of Renato hook-up 'Take Off'.
As 'Bleu Your Mind' progresses, the musical details become more refined, the grooves drowsier and the mood more horizontal. This subtle shift can be heard in Leonidas co-production 'Lazyjack' - all chiming lead lines, languid bass guitar, snappy drum machine beats and glistening guitar motifs - the vocoder-sporting stoner funk of 'Spinnaker', and the yearning brilliance of 'Fingers Crossed'.
The album's most emotive and immersive moment by some distance, 'Fingers Crossed' sees Altier and collaborator Iamrobd (also a fellow Twonk member) tease out a slow-motion groove in combination with lilting Spanish guitar solos, ultra-dreamy chords, twinkling pianos and delay-laden drum machine hits. Bittersweet and brilliant, it's a track guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. By the time it fades out, via a sustained piano chord, you'll be sat or stood in wide-eyed, open-mouthed wonder.