Petit Biscuit's album cover for
Album reviews
Artist:
Petit Biscuit
Album:
Presence
Release year:
2018
Label:
Self-released
24 April 2018 / by Nicole Di Donato (author)

French DJ and producer Petit Biscuit makes his presence known on his debut album. At only 18 years old, Petit Biscuit, the pseudonym for Mehdi Benjelloun, has made a name for himself in the electronic music industry both nationally and internationally. He is known for his basic song structures and tropical house sound. His first big break was his 2015 single “Sunset Lover,” which has since gathered over 180 million streams between Spotify and SoundCloud. The song was featured on his 2016 self-titled EP and on his latest release, Presence.

Most of Petit Biscuit’s songs are successful because of their simplicity. Some of his tracks include as little as a guitar line, drum kick, hand clap, and looping vocal samples (“Sunset Lover”). His songs also utilize traditional instruments. Being a classically trained musician, Petit Biscuit seamlessly incorporates the cello, guitar, violin, and piano into some of his songs, without making it feel overcrowded. 

Presence flawlessly brings Petit Biscuit’s signature tropical house sound to life. His dancehall and Balearic house-inspired tunes make you feel like you’re walking on the beach (“Oceans”), going on a road trip (“On the Road”), and partying at a summer music festival (“Forever Being”). It’s the perfect summer album, yet it was released in November. Perhaps he did this so that he could prove himself prior to the upcoming festival season.

Petit Biscuit, influenced by the sounds of Flume, Bonobo, and Odesza, tries something new on Presence; he incorporates both his own vocals and guest vocals by artists such as Bipolar Sunshine and Isaac Delusion. These collaborations make the album more diverse and engaging. “Problems” featuring Norwegian singer-songwriter Lido is the perfect example. His smooth R&B vocals and memorable lyrics ("She likes the shark print with the zip-up / High hats with the hiccups"), coupled with Petit Biscuit’s catchy guitar riff and hypnotic beats makes for a radio-ready single.

Similarly, “Waterfall,” featuring Australian artist Panama, is reminiscent of a Kygo song. With its catchy chorus and dreamy synth pop beats, it won’t be a surprise if people have this track on repeat all summer long.

Presence is also diverse in terms of its sound. “Break Up” incorporates vocal chanting and dance-worthy electronic beats, while other songs such as “Follow Me” and “Gravitation” play with soothing celestial grooves. Although these songs sound completely different, it is their simplicity that connects them and attracts listeners. 

It’s clear that Petit Biscuit put a lot of thought into the order of the tracks on the record and the overall feeling he wanted listeners to get when hearing it. However, the album could have had a stronger beginning. It starts with “Creation Comes Alive,” featuring Sonia, which begins quiet and slow, then builds into a captivating beat. Sonia’s vocals don’t come in until the last 40 seconds and cut off abruptly at the end, making it feel unfinished. Other than the opening track, each song on Presence flows well into the next. At times, it’s hard to tell where one song ends and a new one begins, making it an easy and peaceful listening experience.

Petit Biscuit is a new and young electronic artist, so it’ll be interesting to see how his sound evolves over the coming years. The summery nature of his music, combined with the simplicity of his songs and his ability to play traditional instruments, rather than relying solely on synthetic beats, makes him stand out from other big names in the electronic music scene. If his debut album is any indication of his musical capabilities, we won’t be forgetting about Petit Biscuit anytime soon.

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The author

Nicole Di Donato

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