Founded in 1997 by French DJ, producer and musician Arnaud Rebotini, Black Strobe was a part of the French electronic rock movement, releasing a number of prominent singles between roughly 2002 and 2007. The band’s full-length debut, Burn Your Own Church was heavily influenced by Rebotint’s fascination with Americana – in particular, cowboys, country music, Westerns and the blues – but filtered through electro pop and disco. Interestingly, their cover of Bo Diddley’s “I’m A Man,” caught the attention of Quentin Tarantino, who used the song for the Django Unchained trailer.
After the release of their full-length debut, the project went on a lengthy hiatus in which Rebotini spent time remixing the work of Depeche Mode, Rammstein, The Rapture, Bloc Party, Fischerspooner, and released a number of solo projects under his own name. However, two years ago, Black Strobe returned with the darkly, seductive disco funk of “Boogie in Zero Gravity“ and "The Girl From the Bayou."
Two years have passed since the release of "Boogie in Zero Gravity” and “The Girl From the Bayou” but the band is releasing a bunch of new material. First, they released the Going Back Home EP, which features the EP title track “Going Back Home,” which is probably the most urgent and darkly seductive track they’ve released to date; a remix of the EP title track; and a cover of Rufus Thomas’ “Tiger Man,” which was once made popular by Elvis Presley.
Sonically, “Going Back Home” bore a resemblance to the INXS’s “Need You Tonight” in the sense that both songs exude a raw, urgent carnality – the same urgent carnality that the blues and country music often have but propelled by percussion, sinuous synth and a funky bass line.
Godforsaken Roads is Black Strobe’s much-anticipated sophomore effort, slated for a September release and the latest single from the album is their unique take on the Johnny Cash standard “Folsom Prison Blues” which captures the forlorn loneliness of the original while pulling the song into the 21st century. The Black Strobe arrangement is just as sparse as the original, but with eerily atmospheric synths taking the place of guitar and double bass, and Rebotini’s smooth baritone. It’s a strange take that manages to retain the song’s spirit in a way that I suspect that Cash himself would have enjoyed.