L’Impératice — founder Charles de Boisseguin (keys), Hagni Gown (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), Tom Daveau (drums) and Flore Benguigui (vocals) — is a risingParis-based electro pop sextet that formed back in 2012. And since their formation, the French electro pop act has been extremely busy and prolific: within their first three years together, they released 2012’s self-titled debut EP., 2014’s Sonate Pacifique EP and 2015’s Odyssée EP.
In 2016, L’imperatrice released a re-edited, remixed and slowed down version of Odyssée, L’Empreruer, which was inspired by a fan mistakenly playing a vinyl copy of Odyssée at the wrong speed. L’Impératice followed that up with a version of Odysseé featuring arrangements centered around violin, cello and acoustic guitar. During the summer of 2017, the Parisian electro pop act signed to microqlima records, who released that year’s Séquences EP.
2018’s full-length debut Matahari featured “Erreur 404,” which they performed on the French TV show Quotidien. Since then, the Parisian electro pop act have released an English language version of Matahari — and they’ve been busy working on the highly anticipated Renaud Letang co-produced sophomore album Taku Tsubo. Slated for a March 26, 2021 release through their longtime label home, the album derives its name from the medical term for broken heart syndrome, takutsubo syndrome (蛸 壺, from Japanese “octopus trap”). The condition usually manifests itself as deformation of the heart’s left ventricle caused by severe emotional or physical stress — i.e., the death of a loved one, an intense argument with someone you care about, a breakup, a sudden illness or the like. So, in case you were a wondering: yes, an untreated broken heart can actually kill you.
Over the course of the past year, I’ve written about two of Taku Tsubo’s released singles:
“Voodoo?,” a slinky disco strut featuring a propulsive groove, layers of arpeggiated synths, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar and Benguigui’s sultry, come-hither vocals. Interestingly, one of the few songs written and sung in English on the album, the track features a narrator, who attends a party and decides to leave early to read Torture Magazine instead.
“Peur des filles,” another slinky disco floor strut that’s a scathing and sarcastic ode to the differences between men and women that points out how shitty men are.
Album opener “Anomalie bleue” continues a remarkable run of infectious and slinky disco-tinged pop. Centered around an expansive song structure, featuring shimming and glistening synth arpeggios, skittering four-on-the-floor, a strutting wah-wah pedaled bass line, squiggling guitar lines and Benguigui’s come hither vocals, “Anonmalie bleue” is one part Giorgio Moroder-like disco, one part Kraftwerk-like retro-futurism, one part Shalamar-like funk within an expansive, mind-bending song structure. But just under the dance floor friendly grooves, the song’s narrator charmingly describes love-at-first site with a beautiful, blue wearing anomaly that suddenly appears in a lobby full of drab suited con-men, grifters and CEOs and bored business travelers.
Shot late last year as a part of a longer concert stream, this slick and intimately shot footage captures the Parisian sextet wearing Buck Rogers-like outfits while playing their funky grooves.