Charlotte Adigéry and Bolis Pupul are a Ghent, Belgium electronic duo, who exploded into the national and international scenes with the release of 2019’s critically applauded, David and Stephen Dewaele-produced Zandoli EP. Their unpredictable and subversive take on electro pop sees the pair poking and prodding at the pop zeitgeist with a provocative and sly sense of humor. Adding to a growing profile, EP singles “Paténipat” and “High Lights” received airplay on UK Radio and were playlisted by BBC Radio 6.
Adigéry and Pupul’s full-length debut as a duo, Topical Dancer is slated for a March 4, 2022 release through Soulwax‘s own label DEEWEE. Co-written and co-produced by Soulwax and the acclaimed duo, Topical Dancer is deeply rooted in two things: their perspectives as Belgians with immigrant backgrounds with Adigéry proudly claiming Guadeloupean and French-Martinique ancestry and Pupul being of Chinese descent, and the conversations the duo have had touching upon cultural appropriation, misogyny, racism, social media vanity, post-colonialism.
So while being a snapshot of their thoughts and observations of pop culture in the early 2020s, the album also further cements their sound and approach; they manage to craft thoughtful songs that bang hard centered around their idiosyncratic and off-kilter take on familiar genres and styles. “We like to fuck things up a bit,” Pupul laughs. “We cringe when we feel like we’re making something that already exists, so we’re always looking for things to combine to make it sound not like a pop song, not like an R&B song, not a techno song. We’re always putting different worlds together. Charlotte and I get bored when things get too predictable.”
The album’s 13 songs are also fueled by a restless desire to not be boxed in — and to escape narrow perceptions of who they are and what they can be. “One thing that always comes up,” Bolis Pupul says, “is that people perceive me as the producer, and Charlotte as just a singer. Or that being a Black artist means you should be making ‘urban’ music. Those kinds of boxes don’t feel good to us.”But they manage to do all of this with a satirical bent; for the duo it’s emancipation through humor/ “I don’t want to feel this heaviness on me,” Charlotte Adigéry says. “These aren’t my crosses to bear. Topical Dancer is my way of freeing myself of these issues. And of having fun.”
Earlier this year, the duo released “Thank You,” an off-kilter banger, centered around Adigéry’s deadpan delivery, skittering beats, layers of buzzing synth arpeggios an an enormous hook. And at its core, the song’s narrator seeks revenge against all mansplainers and all unwarned, unsolicited and dumb opinions from outsiders.
Topical Dancer‘s second and latest single “Blenda” is an off-kilter banger centered around African inspired polyrhythm, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats, Adigéry’s trademark deadpan delivery slightly giving way to incredulousness paired with the duo’s unerring knack for crafting a razor sharp, infectious hook. “Blenda” references how “I am a product of colonialism,” Adigéry says “and I feel guilty for taking up space in a white country. The song also draws some influence from Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race. “It talks about the colonial past and post-colonial present in the UK,” Adigéry continues, “but that isn’t merely a British or American problem, Belgium is part of that as well.” She says that her home country is likewise “oblivious to a big part of its history” which “results in general ignorance and a lack of understanding and empathy towards Belgian inhabitants of immigrant descent.”
Directed by Bob Jeusette, the recently released video for “Blenda” continues a run of visuals that are feverish mindfucks: we see two young children, a Black child and an Asian child, presumably stand-ins for Adigéry and Pupul, watching a TV show that shills cheap foreign shit, interspersed with a Black woman being chased by men wearing pigeon masks and other wild and inexplicable goings-on. Racism and self-hate are culturally ingrained y’all — and it’s fucking awful.