Jean-Baptiste de Laubier, aka Para One, has always been an hyperactive guy. He first started as no-nonsense hip-hop producer in the mid-nineties, making beats for undeground rap artists. His recording studio was actually his one-room apartment in Southern Paris, where MCs were coming on a daily basis, crammed around a mic, an MPC and a battered convertible.



At the turn of the century, he began producing his own instrumental tracks and soon got in touch with the TTC people, then at the core of the burgeoning French indie rap scene. This was the beginning of a new exploration in sound for him : from traditional rap, Para One switched to IDM and techno-infused beats, fizzing with 8-bits FX and deconstructed grooves.


After TTC's first LP Ceci n'est pas un disque, in 2002, for Ninja Tune's rap sublabel Big Dada, Para produced L'Atelier's (an indie rap supergroup) album for seminal Parisian label Institubes, with his boy Tacteel, whom with he also started a live electronic project named FuckALoop. In 2003 came the massive « Beatdown EP », and then TTC's 2nd album in 2004, Bâtards Sensibles, two records that definitely proved how rap attitude and electronic wizardry could be melt into one single sound – an idea many people didn't quite buy at the time. In 2005, Laubier graduated from the FEMIS film school, and found the time to start working on his first solo LP, the critically acclaimed Epiphanie, that came out in 2006 on Institubes.


Intense touring years followed, both as a DJ and live act, all over Europe, North America, Japan, alongside other Institubes artists such as Surkin and Bobmo. He played at Coachella twice, Pukkelpop, Calvi on the Rocks, Primaverra. Reknown for his heavy technical skills, he also became a hot remixer (Daft Punk, Bloc Party, Justice, Boys Noize, etc.) and a hot producer (Birdy Nam Nam, Slice & Soda and now Mickey Green). In 2007, he composed the soundtrack for his Femis friend Céline Sciamma's movie Water Lilies, and directed his own film in 2010, It Was On Earth That I Knew Joy. After the demise of Institubes in early 2011, he and his mates Bobmo and Surkin set up a new imprint called Marble, for which Para already produced or co-produced a dozen tracks. He simulteanously worked on his second album, called Passion, that'll be out in a few weeks.


This a new shift again in Para One's career : the album feels much warmer and confortable than his previous work. It's also much poppier and has a fine number of true hits, complete with vocals from Tekilatex, Irfane and Jaw. The Euro-neurotic's tension is still there sometimes, but the muscle softened and the flesh took over. This is basically uptempo, futuristic R&B with an unmissable sexy touch : it's teeming with round-shaped sounds, wet textures and gentle aural strokes. The whole movement is mid-paced and light-headed, and it's clearly a home-listening, or even bed-listening, slow jam album. The tenderness often gets spaced up or angularized, though. The beats sometimes manage to sound both smooth and rough, easy and intricate, and ghosts of Para's rap training can be heard everywhere.There's also hints of 2-step, deep house, IDM and boogie funk, yet it's a singular, idiosyncratic record, made with an extremely cohesive approach. It's an almost serene effort, and it's certainly generous and loving in the way it unfurls its numerous ideas. This is an album you get deep into, but there's nothing dramatic to it – it's just unadultered, voluptuous pleasure.







Lean On Me (feat. Teki Latex)