Wax Tailor, real name JC le Saout and France’s answer to hip-hop meets downtempo, accomplished something of a feat in the music world with his debut album, Tales of the Forgotten Melodies. He released the record himself and still secured international distribution and attention from the U.S. (including 28 straight weeks in the electronic music charts of iTunes). He assembled a live four-piece and toured with Aceyalone and RJD2, and vocally expressed an interest in touring Stateside to show off his sample-laden tracks to a live audience.

Le Saout’s follow-up, Hope & Sorrow, shows him taking a different approach to making music. Tales was heavy on the samples, which contributed to the album’s character. But with Hope & Sorrow, he decided to replace much of this with live vocal melodies, and therefore the structures are significantly more pop oriented on the new album. This is in no small part due to the inclusion of guest vocalists on the album. In Le Saout’s own words, that factor “changed the way [he] approached songwriting.” Said guest artists include neo-soul figure Sharon Jones, Ursula Rucker of Spoken Words, and cellist Marin Quaisse.

Hope and Sorrow is out April 3, 2007 on Lab’oratoire.

1.Once Upon a Past
2. The Way We Lived feat. Sharon Jones
3. The Games You Plan feat. Voice
4. The Tune
5. The Man With No Soul feat. Charlotte Savary
6. Radio Product
7. Positively Inclined feat. Marina Quaisse & ASM
8. Sometimes
9. The House of Wax feat. The Others
10. Beyond Words
11. To Dry Up feat. Charlotte Savary
12. We Be feat. Ursual Rucker
13. That Case
14. There is Danger
15. Alien in My Belly feat. Charlotte Savary