Over the past year or so, I’ve managed to spill copious amounts of virtual ink covering the rising French electronic music artist and producer LutchamaK. Now, as you may recall, the French JOVM mainstay’s work is deeply influenced by — and generally draws from — techno, but while reflecting his lifelong devotion to and love of eclecticism: his work generally possesses elements of techno, deep house and EDM among other electronic music genres and subgenres.
Interestingly, during that same period, LutchamaK has been frenetically prolific, releasing new material through an increasingly number of EPs, standalone singles and a couple of albums. He recently released another EP, the three track nani. The EP’s first single “October (U Should Try)” is a straightforward yet futuristic-like techno banger, centered around thumping and stuttering beats, glistening synth arpeggios and vocodered vocal samples that reminds me quite bit of Tour de France-era Kraftwerk but at a faster tempo.
Constant reinvention has been a central part of French electronic producer Edouard’s music career and personal life: As a member of the French Touch movement of the 980s. his previous project wound up being an integral part of the European house music scene. Garnering widespread praise, the act signed to BMG Records — and as a result. they received massive radio play and appeared on compilation records alongside other acclaimed French Touch acts like Philipe Zdar, Etienne de Crécy, and Alex Gopher.
As time went on and as the musical landscape change, the French electronic music producer took up a number of different roles and lives: he was a solo-exhibited photographer; an art historian; an engineer; an investment bank manager; and he studied under six-time Grammy Award winner Gary Burton at the Berklee College of Music. Edouard’s latest musical project finds him writing and recording under his eponymous moniker — and sonically, the project meshes elements of electronica, electro pop, dance, house music, synthwave and several other electronic styles and subgenres with a retro-futuristic twist inspired by French electronic music pioneers like Daft Punk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Air, Justice, Laurent Garnier, Cassius, Bob Sinclair., Martin Solveig and the aforementioned Alex Gopher, who was studio engineer for Edouard’s forthcoming full-length, solo debut. Additionally, the project has a parallel focus on visual art, with graphic design duties being split between Filip Hodas and the artist himself.
Edouard’s fourth and latest single “Another World” is a Computerworld and Tour de France-era Kraftwerk meets Homework-era Daft Punk-like track, centered around multiple layers off glistening synth arpeggios, heavily vocodored vocals, stuttering beats, brief blasts of horn and a rousingly euphoric hook. The song finds Edouard carefully walking a tightrope between the mind-bending and expansive and straight forward, crowd pleasing club anthem. And interestingly enough, at the song’s core is a sunny optimism that there’s a much better world on the other side of this.
Directed by the French electronic music producer. the recently released video uses CGI to create exotic and surreal locales and worlds. It’s trippy as hell.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Quebec City-based indie duo New Bleach, an act which features Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, who are best known across the province for their work in acclaimed Francophone act Caravane. Interestingly, with the release of their Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like single “Awake,” the Quebec-based duo reveled a project that was a decided sonic departure from their previously known work.
New Bleach then released their second single “Awake,” a Quiet Storm-like R&B track that recalled the brooding atmospherics of Beacon. Building upon the attention of their first two singles, the duo’s third and latest single is the slow-burning, lullaby-like “High.” Centered around twinkling synths, stuttering beats and plaintive vocals and a fiery guitar solo, the song which manages to nod at Kraftwerk and 80s New Wave simultaneously, expresses that age-old desire to get in your car for a road trip, when you pull over to the side somewhere and do hallucinogens — or some other mind-altering experience.
Copenhagen, Denmark-based pop duo and JOVM mainstays Palace Winter — Australian-born, Copenhagen-based singer/songwriter Carl Coleman and Danish-born, Copenhagen-based producer and classically trained pianist Caspar Hesselager — can trace their origins to the duo’s mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work throughout a number of different projects over the years. Naturally, that mutual familiarity and appreciation for each other’s work led to the duo deciding to work together.
Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Palace Winter’s sophomore album, 2018’s Nowaways found the duo expanding upon the sound and songwriting approach that won them praise, as they paired breezy and melodic, radio friendly pop with heavy thematic concerns — with the album material’s touching upon the loss of innocence of adulthood, the accompanying tough and sobering lessons as you get older, the freedom and power that comes as one takes control of their life and destiny and the like. But it’s all underpinned by the profound grief of inconsolable loss. Life, after all is about recognizing that immense heartbreak and devastating loss are part of the price of admission, and that somehow you have to figure out a way to move forward.
Palace Winter’s highly anticipated, third album . . . Keep Dreaming, Buddy is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through Tambourhinoceros Records, and unlike their preceding albums, . . .Keep Dreaming, Buddy‘s material was written through a long distance correspondence as the band’s Coleman was residing in Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. “Caspar was sending me these synth hooks and drum loops from Denmark, so I started coming up with melodies and lyrical ideas to record into my phone,” Coleman says of the writing sessions. While Coleman’s lyrics were inspired by Tenerife’s unique landscape, drawing metaphorical parallels between Mt. Teide, a dormant volcano, which also is one of Spain’s tallest peaks and the looming fear of a relationship disintegrating, Hesselager’s instrumental parts were inspired by Copenhagen’s landscape. And as a result, the album’s material is literally a tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states.
So far I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles: The album’s first single “Top of the Hill,” was a great example of the album’s overall tale of two cities and two completely different emotional states. Featuring shimmering and icy synths, thumping beats and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook paired with Coleman’s volcanic imagery-based lyrics, the song captures the bubbling dissatisfaction, boredom, frustration and distrust of a relationship about to boil over and explode. “Won’t Be Long,” . . . .Keep Dreaming Buddy‘s second single may arguably be the album’s most ambitious and expansive songs. Featuring elements of arena rock, glam rock and synth pop, the track which was centered around a rousingly anthemic hook, a crunchy power chord-driven riff, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed acoustic guitar, the song is actually deceptively (and perhaps, even ironically) upbeat, as it tackles the anxiety of anticipatory loss of a loved one. Loss and despair are always around the corner, indeed.
“Deeper End,” the album’s third single is a decidedly genre-defying affair — and it finds the duo pushing their sound in a new direction but without changing the elements of their sound and approach that has won them attention internationally. Featuring an infectious hook, shimmering synth arpeggios and strummed guitar, the breezy song is one part synth pop. one part 70s AM rock, one part country — but while centered around an unusual juxtaposition: the song as the band’s Carl Coleman explains is “a story about a bad trip at a weird house party I went to with my sister.” Coleman adds “Think Kraftwerk playing a classic country song.” In either case, the song is full of slow-burning, creeping dread and anxiety, the fear of skeleton stuffed closets being exposed.
Granddaddy’s Jason Lytle contributes a guest verse to the song, a verse in which his character dispenses harsh yet very trippy truths to the song’s hallucinating and anxious narrator. Interestingly, the collaboration can trace its origins back to when the members of Palace Winter discovered that Lytle was a fan, after he added a Palace Winter song to one of his playlists. Coleman, who’s been a longtime fan of Lytle’s work with Granddaddy reached out to Lytle with what he thought was an unlikely proposition to work together. Obviously, Lytle said yes. “It’s wild to think that back in the early naughties I was wandering around Europe with Grandaddy in my headphones, and now here I am trading lines with Jason. It’s a real honour and a proud moment for our band” Coleman says.
Tracing their origins back to an encounter between Congolese vocalist and composer Bony Bikaye, French musician and producer Hector Zazou and modular synth act CY1, Zazou Bikaye released a groundbreaking Afro pop/experimental electronic album with their 1983 full-length debut Noir et Blanc, an album that has since garnered cultish devotion by music cognoscenti, musicians and fans.
After the release of Noir et Blanc, Zazou Bikaye turned into a proper band that started to develop and hone their own special brand of digital Afrobeat/Afrofunk. Zazou took on writing and programming duties while Bikaye expanded on the extroverted side of his vocal stylings. They then set out to record a large batch of material with five tracks eventually being released in 1985 as the 32-minute mini album Mr. Manager, an effort released to acclaim through Crammed Discs in Europe and through Pow Wow in Japan and the States. The act toured Europe and played a couple of shows in New York — and two of the album’s tracks “Angel” and “Nostalgie” became underground club hits across the States and Europe.
With a backing band that featured Philipe “Pinpin” de la Croix Herpin (woodwinds), Tuxedomoon’s Luc van Lieshout (trumpet and harmonica), Vincent Kenis (guitar), Chris Jouris (percussion), Bigoune (percussion), Mwamba Kasuba (backing vocals), Nicole MT (backing vocals) M’Bombo K (backing vocals) and Marc Hollander (sax), the Hollander, Zazou Kenis produced sessions recorded between 1985 and 1986 were supposed to be appear on a full-length album. But as it turned out, the members of Zazou Bikaye moved on and recorded an entirely different album of material, 1988’s Guilty. Some of the tracks from those 1985-1986 sessions came out as remixes but most of the material was left aside, unfinished.
Slated for an October 16, 2020 release through Crammed Discs, the expanded and remastered reissue of Mr. Manager features the mini-album’s original five tracks plus nine rediscovered tracks recorded during those abandoned 1985-1986 sessions. And to celebrate the occasion, Zazou Bikaye and Crammed Disc re-released album single “Nostalgie. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated blocks of synths, thumping polyrhythm, call-and-response vocals, an ebullient, Branford Marsalis-like sax solo and an enormous, crowd pleasing hook, “Nostalgie” may strike some listeners as a sleek and mischievous synthesis of 80s Peter Gabriel synth pop, Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Fela Kuti. But interestingly enough, it actually presages the wildly experimental dance pop coming out of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — i.e. Kokoko! and Tshegue among a growing list of others.
Mr. Manager also featured a colorful album cover art and the recently released video for “Nostalgie” features animation by Sylvia Baldan that draws from the album’s artwork, which she originally designed.
Karthik Poduval is a London-born, Indian-British DJ and producer, best known as a founding member of the acclaimed tropical psychedelic band Flamingods. Poduval’s latest solo project Mera Bhai, which derives its name from the affection Hindi greeting “my brother,” is informed by his own personal experiences: he’s spent time living in Italy, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Nigeria — and naturally that experience has seeped into his own globe-spanning, border-crossing, genre-defying take on dance music, which incorporates elements of Indian Carnatic, Arabic Rai, 70s disco, Acid House, Detroit techno and Tropicalia. “Having grown up all over the world, I was surrounded by a wealth of different sounds — i’m just trying to weave the cultural through line that I hear in music.”
Earlier this year, I wrote about Poduval’s Mera Bhai debut, a bootle remix of Ahmed Fakroun‘s “Jama El F’na,” which retained the shimming instrumentation of the original and Fakroun’s vocals but sped the tempo up quite a bit, to give the song a decided Tour de France-era Kraftwerk/Primal Scream/Kasabian-like feel to the proceedings: layers of synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap and industrial clang and clatter. Both the original and its remix are club bangers — but the remix manages to sound as though it could have been released in 1992, 2002, 2020 or 2032.
Poduval’s latest Mera Bhai single “Mañana Groove,” a summery club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, hot hi hats, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats and vocodered vocals within an expansive mind-bending song structure. Sonically, it’s one part Kraftwerk, one part Primal Scream and one part deep house. And its core is a carefree, let’s worry about it all tomorrow vibe, which feels so very appropriate right now. While continuing upon his growing reputation for synthesizing a wide variety of sounds, “Mañana Groove” is inspired by Todd Terje’s “Inspector Norse” and features a samples from Mr. Bongo Records reissue of Cissé Abdoulaye’s “A Son Magni.” “I wanted to take this tune that’s already in my DJ record bag to another dimension,” Poduval says. “It also gives a nod to one of my favourite anthems ‘Pacific State’ by 808 State, which frames summertime feels for me.
“I wrote this track during a pretty tumultuous time of my life where I was grieving recently lost family members and coming to terms with fraught relationships,” Poudval recalls. “I escaped to India for a few months by myself and set up my studio there, and this was one of the first tracks that I wrote.”
Having started on the path to total sobriety, he continues: “I really needed to feel the carefreeness that comes with being in a club/festival environment and wanted to know that I wouldn’t be excluded from feeling that by being sober. I also felt the need to free myself from what I was going through and transmute my challenging experiences into something positive and happy, and that I could share.”
Adds Poduval, “it’s a sun-soaked anthem to blast out the windows as you cruise out of town. It’s a careless, ‘I’ll do it mañana’ answer to life’s responsibilities, a getaway tune, here to take us out of lockdown into sunnier times ahead.”
Directed by Niall Trask, the recently released video for “Mañana Groove” is an appropriately kaleidoscopic and hallucinogenic VHS taped fever dream that follows a our protagonist as he plays a racing game and rocks out to an album on his record player.
Mera Bhai’s debut EP Futureproofing is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through Moshi Moshi Records.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written quite a bit about Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist, Eblis Alvarez, who’s perhaps better known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed, forward-thinking cumbia act Meridian Brothers. Now, as you may recall, Meridian Brothers newest album Cumbia Siglo XXI is salted for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (and largely acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for restlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions whenever possible.
Largely inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. The end result is material that seemingly draws from Kraftwerk, while blending EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.
I’ve written about two album singles so far: “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty with a mischievous sense of adventurousness — and “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” a mischievous synthesis of chip tune, electro pop and cumbia that came from the Island of Misfit Toys. The album’s latest single “Cumbia de la fuente,” is a yearning and plaintive track centered around strummed acoustic guitar, glitchy synths and glitchier drum machines and Alvarez’s aching vocal delivery. And while sounding as though it came from some incredibly dystopian future — one just as hellish as our own — the song conveys a sense of hope for something beyond this.
“‘Cumbia de la fuente’ is a stopping point of the whole theme of the record, both in lyrics and in sound concept,” Meridian Brothers’ Alvarez says in press notes. “rThe song is a prayer and an amulet, a search for something that modern human beings are not used to do, due to mechanisation and modern industrial societies. A scream to the nowhere, looking for some answer, which is not given by scientific fetichism nor the political argument, nor the philosophic reason.”
The recently released video for “Cumbia de la fuente” features some trippy and brightly colored drawings that seem inspired by an intense hallucinogenic trip.
Andrea Mariatti is a 26 year old,Turin, Italy-born and-based electronic music producer, electronic music artist and DJ, who can trace the origins of his music career to when he turned 12. Around that time, he had started creating and making music from his laptop. Mariatti’s music career started in earnest when he was 15: he started releasing albums under the name Andrea Dub. Some of the young producer and DJ’s work was played by a number of DJs across the European Union.
After completing high school, Mariatti studied at SAE Institute, Milan, eventually earning a degree in Audio Production and Creative Music Industry, which helped him pushed the boundaries of his sound and technical limits. Over the past few yers, Mariatti has been rather busy: three years ago, he returned to his hometown, where he built a studio, so he could work on music every day.
Two years ago, the up-and-coming Italian produced signed with NBM Music Agency, who helped him sign with Deadmau5′s mau5trap Records, who released music from his latest musical projects Thin King and his latest solo project Mariatti. Additionally, he founded Recall, a live events brand whose mission is to create and foster a community of passionate people about electronic music with his friend and colleague HolyU.
Now, as you may recall, Mariatti has also released a batch of new material that included the trance house meets New Jack Swing-like “Other Vibes” and the lush, Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa-like “Variable Speed of Life.” Mariatti’s latest single “Patches” is a lushly melodic yet brash banger centered around layers of shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios, stuttering beats placed with an expansive, seemingly free-flowing song structure. Subtly recalling Tour de France-era Kraftwerk, Factory Floor and others, the track may arguably be the most mesmerizing of the Italian producer’s growing catalog.
“‘Patches’ is the most melodic and evolving arrangement I went through,” Mariatti says. “The process of this song came from only one synthesizer: Korg MS-20; every single sound you hear is made by that astonishing machine.”
If you’ve been following this site over the past few months, you may know that Carré is a rapidly rising Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:
Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.
Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”
The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. Thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world. Visually, their work features geometric shapes and patterns.
Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking recording project Meridian Brothers. Alvarez’s forthcoming Meridian Brothers album Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? continues the Colombian artist’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing his sound and approach in new and radical directions.
Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees Alvarez using a multitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and whatever tech that the acclaimed Colombian artist could get his hands on. And while the album’s material sonically seemingly to draw a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.
Earlier this year, I wrote about Cumbia Siglo XXI‘s first single “Puya del Empressario,” an infectious yet let field take on cumbia that sounded a bit like like eThe Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — with a mischievous sense of adventurousness. “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s latest single is a mischievous synthesis of chip-tune, electro pop and cumbia that sounds like came straight from the Island of Misfit Toys.
The recently released Bibiana Rojas-edited video for “Los Golpeadores de la cumbia” features a split screen — the left-hand side of the screen we see a man, text people, receive a phone call and take selfies. On the right-hand side, we see some surreal drawings by Mateo Rivano.