Cyril Hahn embraces pure pop on Begin

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      Cyril Hahn
      Begin (PMR/Virgin)

      In the last couple of years, Swiss-born, Vancouver-based producer Cyril Hahn has generated some buzz within the electronic-music community, releasing widely disseminated remixes and rubbing shoulders with high-profile peers like Caribou and Ryan Hemsworth. His recent Begin EP suggests that he might have even greater successes in his future, as these four songs prove that Hahn sounds best when he embraces pure pop.

      Each of these four tracks features a guest vocalist, with Hahn han­dling the twinkling synthesizers and thumping drum machines. The clear standout in this batch is “Inferno”, featuring Swedish-Australian sister duo Say Lou Lou, on which cinematic synths help to lift the gorgeous hooks skyward. With a snare that cracks like a drum shot, it’s a towering anthem that’s begging to become a pop hit. New Zealand combo Yumi Zouma (including former vocalist Kim Pflaum) helps to capture a dreamy sound on “Same”, while Los Angeles singer Kotomi’s soothing voice sounds gorgeous on the low-key burble of “Grace”.

      Not coincidentally, Begin’s worst track is also its least mainstream-sounding: opener “Last” features singer-producer Joel Ford (of Ford & Lopatin and Tigercity), and while it’s pleasantly sleek and modern-sounding, its straightforward dance thump doesn’t have the emotional heft of Hahn’s pop-friendly productions. This EP proves that, with the proper promotion and the right collaborator, Hahn could potentially move from underground favourite to radio-ready sensation.