If you haven’t heard the name Fancy Mike before now, don’t stress. The man is an incredible beatmaker, but that’s hardly all he does. Real name Mike Kleine, Fancy Mike spent the last two years on adventures of all sorts, two of which resulted in a completed novel and some time spent teaching in France. Hell, his personal website is MikeDoesEverything.tumblr.com. So, if you didn’t catch his debut release, Madison Square Gardener, when it dropped two years ago, that’s okay. He was busy anyway. But now is as good a time as ever to introduce yourself to this midwesterner with a knack for injecting tangible life into downtempo vibes.
His sophomore effort, an 8-track LP titled Mary B. James, dropped last week, and although it’s a bit more sparse, the breadth and completeness allow this album to surpass his first. It’s hard to describe this release, really. How can something have so little, but sound so precise; how can it be so simply designed, but engage the listener so fully. I have found myself repetitively spinning this LP the past seven days trying to answer these questions, but perhaps they’re not meant to be answered. Whether he’s toying with College-y synths in “Miami Vice,” steel drums on the title track, or constructing a haunting melody on, dare I say, the LP’s best cut, “VVVV, 1977,” he does so with a sense of purpose, resulting in true minimalist mastery.
Listen to Mary B. James below, which, like Madison Square Gardener, dropped via Canadian label King Deluxe, and cop the title track for free.