4 Stars (out of 5) - "...A booming bass holds together 16 seriously entertaining tracks which strut their stuff with a smirk at the disco, jack things up Detroit-style around effortlessly addictive bass lines and wig-out on 70's wah-wah..." -- Q 3/99, p.93Rolling Stone Magazine
Cassius are Hubert Blanc-Francard (a.k.a. Boombass) and Philippe Zdar, two thirty-one-year-old dance-music makers who previously helped supply forward- looking French acts like MC Solaar, Daft Punk and Air with their zip. The duo bases its music on the finely calibrated roar of house: constantly unwinding, nonstop rhythms; shiny-toned pointillist beats; and stray voices from old funk jams, cartoons and ad spots. Rebellious jams such as "Cassius 1999," "Planetz," "Hey Babe" and "Supa Crush" seem to develop their own kind of free force. Cassius can't conceive that their technological means might limit them; instead, throughout these sixteen tracks, they just keep pulling off uncanny impersonations of the funkiest little band on the planet. -- James HunterAll Music Guide
Cassius, a new addition to the top ranks of French electronica circa 1999, actually comprised two of the scene's most experienced producers: Philippe Zdar and Hubert Blanc-Francart (aka Boombass). Besides their productions for Mo' Wax as La Funk Mob, the duo had also manned the boards for several excellent LPs by French rapper MC Solaar. They first met back in the late '80s, working in the same studio (Zdar was an engineer, and Boombass was just learning the trade). Boombass worked with MC Solaar, and combined with Zdar to release two EPs on Mo' Wax as La Funk Mob during 1994. Zdar also teamed with Etienne De Crecy (of Super Discount) to release an LP as Motorbass. Finally, Zdar and Boombass came together in late 1998 as Cassius. Combining the jazzy hip-hop of Boombass with Zdar's phase'n'filter acid-disco, Cassius debuted with the single "Cassius 1999," a club anthem and British Top 20 hit late in 1998. The full-length 1999 appeared early the following year. -- John BushAmazon.com
Two of the most revered producers and remixers of the French Invasion, Phillipe Zdar and Hubert Blanc-Francard more than have the skills to toss off crates of jiggy dance product if they so desired. But on their debut as Cassius, they've created something very different, a seamlessly postironic piece of abstract hip-house that's so off-kilter and fun, it feels subversive. Subtle gospel samples and a bluesy '30s trumpet bring on the opener, "Cassius 1999," then flip it into a flashy Latin electro super-digitale, and it's a good clue to where this whole thing wants to go. Thus we find plus-sized freestyle bass lines blithely slung under the vit-vit of old-school acid or a hard-house shuffle invaded both by toony synth arpeggios and liquid cobalt washes à la Richard James. Somehow, Cassius make it all cook. 1999 more than lives up to its unreasonable advance hype--a gorgeous and surprisingly restrained showcase for two visionaries. --Steve LafreniereSPIN Magazine
When Hubert Blanc-Francard, one half of the Franco-funk outfit Cassius, first discovered James Brown and world-beat pioneer Fela Kuti as a kid in '70s Paris, he realized it was one world under a groove. Flash-forward two decades, and the finest track on Cassius's charmingly urbane debut, 1999, is "Mister Eveready," a slinky smooth strut that tips its sampler to the Fela mystique. "It's a tribute to his hypnotic and sexy rhythms," says Blanc-Francard, who goes by the nom de mack Boombass. "He was ever-ready to smoke a joint, ever-ready to have sex." It's probably safe to assume that Boombass and his partner, Philippe Zdar, are ever-ready in general. Longtime studio rats, the two spent several years collaborating with French hip-hop idol MC Solaar in the early '90s before making records for Mo' Wax as the trip-hoppy La Funk Mob. While Boombass grew up going to clubs in search of hip-hop flaveur, Zdar was a French pop purist for most of the '80s until a Chicago house DJ saved his life. Upwardly mobile and deeply cool, Cassius is where each of their obsessions merge. "It's all soul music," Zdar says of their multifarious beats. "It stays in time." The duo run through the 20 years of house, disco, and funk, dispensing dance-floor nuggets rife with sexual innuendo, a French stereotype they cautiously cop to. "When we were kids, we always wanted to go to America to get the girls," Boombass says bashfully. "People there like the accents."CMJ New Music Report
The name Cassius may be unfamiliar to followers of the French electronic dance movement, but the duo of Phillipe Zdar and Hubert Blanc-Francart (a.k.a. Boombass) has actually been making an impact on that scene for quite some time as both artists and producers/remixers (MC Solaar, Daft Punk). The pair takes its dance floor inspirations to new heights, however, with Cassius's timely debut full-length 1999. The duo fills its tunes with the filtered grooves and disco loops made popular in Parisian nightclubs, but they also make use of their hip-hop experiences, spicing up their cuts with bigger backbeats, fatter bass lines, funkier melodies and an overall sassier attitude than those of their contemporaries. Thus, 1999 is a strangely familiar but nevertheless novel break from the European beat-making tradition. -- M. Tye ComerWall of Sound Online
House music may seem simple on the surface, but there's a delicate art at work beneath the facade. It's the difference between feeling inspired to dance the night away and suffering in listless boredom to the same 4/4 beat. While Chicago (the city, not the band) may have invented and perfected the genre, nobody today is on par with the French. No doubt it's the energy of house mixed with the French's passion for soulful vocals and jazzy sensations that have formed a pretty combustible, if not irresistible, musical elixir. Cassius, a French duo that Mo' Wax Records' fans may know as hip-hop beatmakers La Funk Mob, is helping lead this French revolution from the dance floors of Europe to the homes and cars of the States. Cassius' beats and grooves are positively infectious from the onset. "Feeling for You" begins with a mellow introduction that resembles an old hip-hop instrumental. It then bursts into a fiercely catchy tune led by a bubblegum guitar lick and sped-up vocal sample. Cassius seems to draw a lot from its hip-hop influences, as many of the songs feature similar samples and arrangements. "Planet ZZ" carries a resonant bass sound throughout and its beats resemble something a hip-hop battle DJ might create during a breakdance session. It's not just hip-hop that accents Cassius' work. "La Mouche" and "Somebody" border on soulful techno inventions, while the "Panama" interlude echoes classic soul jazz.
Usually it's hard to translate dance music into personal listening, but Cassius' focus on song-like arrangements and length, not to mention the simple undeniable pop element of the music, makes 1999 easy to enjoy anywhere. And while it may be mindless, it sure is fun. — Joseph Monish Patel
Emap Consumer Magazines Ltd.
Another Detroit-influenced French dance duo. Daft Punk should worry. No-one mixes up funk, hip hop, disco and house quite like the French at the moment. Perhaps this is because the people who do it best, such as producer Boombass and DJ Phillipe Zdar, have already spent several years making music more anonymously with the pioneering MC Solaar, Motorbass and La Funk Mob. Now, as Cassius, these two have made one of the most wickedly enjoyable and knowingly playful funky French records for a while. A booming bass holds together 16 seriously entertaining tracks which strut their stuff with a smirk at the disco, jack things up Detroit-style around effortlessly addictive bass lines and wig-out on '70s wah-wah funk, all with the easy panache that Charles Aznavour made famous. -- David Roberts
Thanks to the past couple years of steady success from French pop musicians, France is a musical force to be reckoned with. Parisian youngsters Daft Punk started it all. Air, hailing from Versailles, picked up the pace with last year's universally lauded Moon Safari.CDNow.com
Now along comes Cassius with their dish for the French Invasion potluck. For starters, Hubert Blanc-Francard (a.k.a., Boombass) and Philippe Zdar have long been respected producers for the hip-hop and dance-music communities. Prophetic hipsters such as Björk and Depeche Mode have tapped the duo for remixes. Prior to that, they masterminded the sound of French rapper MC Solaar.
This, their debut LP -- the moniker's a nod to the timeliness of the duo's arrival -- covers the electronic-music bases. Things get a running start on the frenetic beats of the techno track, "Cassius 1999," but immediately change course on track number two, a soulful, dance floor groover titled "Feeling for You." Things vacillate from Kraftwerk-esque electro one minute to Barry-White-meets-George-Clinton funk the next. One thing remains constant: it's all about your backside. In your car, in the club or on the couch, Cassius makes sure your ass is shakin'. -- Courtney Reimer
The underground Parisian duo, Cassius (formerly known as Mo'Wax recording artists La Funk Mob) offers up a phat slab of French-fried, future funk on its auspicious debut 1999.
The album embraces an unpredictable melange of styles representing the duo's vast musical roots from chopped-up disco decadence and rousing soul (ala Chaka Khan, Curtis Mayfield and Bobby Womack), to deep-filtered house, abstract hip-hop and electro.
Cassius (also known as Phillipe Zdar and Boombass) successfully rewrite the script of house by eradicating all rules while keeping the music funky. Highlights include the future house hits "Nu Life" and "Cassius 1999 (remix)." Zdar (who is also half of the acclaimed house act Motorbass) and Boombass set things off with the explosive "Feelings For You," "La Mouche" (which samples Candido's club classic "Thousand Finger Man" and the essential "Foxxy" (the duo's funk-driven take on Willie Hutch's blaxploitation gem, "Foxy Brown").
They also throw in some lush ambience ("Invisible" and "Interlude") and menacing electro/old school hip-hop courtesy of "Crazy Legs" and "Hey Babe." Throughout, 1999 is a stellar album overloaded with sly and seductive grooves, wicked floor-pounding beats and an arsenal of obscure vocal samples. Let it be known that Cassius is definitely in the house! -- Craig Roseberry