Definitely felt like the "French Electronic Music" topic wasn't over with the first post, so here I decided to collect stories about a bunch of our very special international baguette holders, wine drinkers and stinky cheese fans, who left their homeland for a better future but mostly a better present, in order to keep the fire burning (shit, now i've to listen to this).
I met Thomas at the counter of a bar where I worked in 2017 (Primitiv, for those interested). After realizing we were both French (and both Southeners with a just twist of accent), he kindly invited me to see him play at Club Der Visionaere which lead all of us to one of those fabulous summer nights to remember in Berlin.
I have already shared one of his releases, which he actually did with his mother Christine Wodrascka, a well known extremely talented Experimental Pianist with whom he explores the realm of Electronic Experimental music more than just properly. The track itself has an endless comfortable expanding atmosphere (see it in this Yoyaku selection), and as a cherry on the cake, got remixed by Ricardo Villalobos (if you need a hyperlink for this, go see a doctor now).
Thomas moved to Berlin to express, and explore his desire for a music which is fairly under estimated in the rest of the world's big and small cities. Not only did he find here old time pals (which for some, I'll talk about in this article), but he also gladly found a home for his vision of music with both a crowd and structures allowing him to speak the musical language that is his, and that would need more than an entire dictionary to be understood.
Here's a track from him on Ring Of Neptunes compilation out on Bandcamp (or on tape for them highly supportive heads of yours). The perfect way to start a selection, for your mind to explore, the sky as the earth.
Heard Leiris at on of the Finow Zoo parties. Can we talk about French Electronic Music in Berlin, and forget about Finow Zoo?
That's a strict no. If you don't know about the guys, then click the name, and come to their events. No other possible way to explain.
Not only do we share one first name, but we also share nationality. Patrice as to me one of the musical encounters which helped my desire to stay in the city when all I found around me was berlin style banging techno. Fresh air for my ears, and for yours if you dare.
Sharp. Very sharp sound. Perfectly corresponding to the label Rotate on which he released the track which I am sharing. Space meets Earth here again, with this kick / bass / breakbeat combination that keep your feet moving but grounded, before the fresh air exhaled by the pad lets your mind take some altitude.
More than minimalism, i'd call this essentialism. The essence of this music represented here as he kept only what was needed in an infinitely intelligent way.
Whenever we'll be allowed again into clubs, I can only highly encourage you to check his name on line ups in France as much as in Germany or anywhere else he could play. You surely won't be disappointed.
Romain Azzaro. The unconventional under cover. That's what I picture listening to this music. Maybe it is due to the instruments used or maybe 5:30 is a little too early today to start writting (JUUUUUUSTIIIIIIN????? FREEEEEEESHH POOOOOOOOT?). A concrete base and an abstract twist. Solid and stable like an unsinkable boat riding the wind. A fantastic one man band, more than just a musician. His music is visual and inspires the movement. Both worlds are combined perfectly in the hands of this guy, creating an entity of his own defined by every single record he puts out on his own imprint or anywhere else (what a release on Pyramids of Mars!!).
He is also one of the founders of African Acid Is The Future, a restless series of parties and label. You'll hear there a well sewed patchwork of African (really?) and soul friendly electronic music put together in spaces like Renate, Loftus Hall and occasionally in Volksbuehne for concerts. Heard the great Céline from Paris play at Loftus Hall, not to mention I had pain to go home that night.
Enough talk, let's listen to the man explaining what expanding music means.
Of course big B is what he calls home now.
Alex From Tokyo
Who can seriously say they saw Alex not smiling? I wanna know who that person is right now. Seriously, if you saw Alex angry I want you to send me an email now. You know that kind of guarana shot you get at the pharmacy when you're a little tired? Make it times 100 that's what you feel when you meet Alex at one of his gigs. An extreme intense shot of happiness overflowing from the pot 24/7.
Alex is a French gentleman born in Paris and raised in Japan. And it is coming back to Paris in 1993 that he, DJ Deep and DJ Gregory (remember these good heads from my first post about French Electronic Music) founded "A Deep Groove", with a Lunchtime radio show on Radio FG that old school Paris heads can still remember. Coming back to Japan, Alex started to expand by becoming the bridge between Japanese and European electronic Music, before moving to the Big Apple and settling there for a good few years.
As for the amount of positive energy he gives to the world, his music could only breathe happiness. The Real Deal is what you go for there. A large sample of his taste for Funk, Disco, Early House Music, Cinematic 80's or even Ambient is therefore showcased on his DJ sets as well as on his World Famous label, for your soul to explore with that contagious smile on your face spreading to the crowd.
Another pair from Toulouse. One that is used to gently deteriorate the sole of your shoes. Seems like this part of France has good soil for them Abstract seeds to grow.
Proud representatives of Yoyaku agency, they travel the world spreading around their vision of deepness, minimalism and abstract music alongside the very best in their niche.
Can we call them doctor? Not yet, but still, the feel of CH3CO2CH under your fingers combined to a consequent dose of Zendid music, any of their releases, 3 times a day may help you cope with the lack of craic in your everyday hustle and bustle.
Have they moved to Berlin yet? Or do we see them that often there that we think they did? I don't know them personally so I couldn't tell at the moment. But for sure our path have crossed a couple of times which to me means that the city already conquered their heart, possibly enough to establish there (who cares? let's listen to some FRENCH music)
Here's an album that was released on bandcamp recently, which is not a usual thing for them as they released 90% (if not 99) of their material on wax.
As a bonus, here's a little mix from the boyz for Mixmag
Originally from Rouen, currently living in Berlin, owner and founder of Shinobies Records. Alexis is highly connected to a lot of the French actors of Electronic Music scene in Berlin. For that and for the level of quality his music offer, I could not go on without mentioning him here in this post.
Going to his Bandcamp account, you'll encounter sharpness in sounds, eclecticism (not "Ethnic" music as this word has been misused and abused so much it almost became an insult), all of that combined with a heavy atmosphere designed to unravel the secrets of the extent, of a fairly infinite vision of music.
Going through all his releases available here there is really worth the ride, and that's what it reallly is : an endless story in which words are needless, an abstract but yet almost physically drawn train ride to a land you cannot put on the map. Something your desire to explore will crave for in your dreams.
Aka "Le Vrai". Himself. One of Finow Zoo's thinking head and working bee. You can't meet Mathieu without wanting to come to one of his parties.
Sound engineer originally from Paris, he as well as the members of his crew found the perfect balance here in Berlin's artist friendly paradise composed of likeminded people and available structures to express themselves.
He often plays live for the Zoo's events, exposing his ongoing works rather than just playing records, which operate between deepness, house music, breakbeat and slightly drifts to techno sometimes.
You can witness all that magic down on his facebook page, or if you're like me you'll wanna wait for the doors of clubs to open again to be able to experience it all in a live configuration.
Here, Mathieu opens the 3rd 50 Shinobies compilation with a beautiful slow deep track fitting your Highpod as well as the beginning of your sets, or your morning routine with a cup of tea if, unlike me, you ran away from your coffee adiction (... FREEEEEEESH POOOOOOOOOOT???).
Paris Born, Cesar Merveille's production history goes back to the fifth installment of Circus Company, a label who rose mountains of his own for the Minimal scene entering the new millenium.
Funny enough, but not too surprising either, Cesar was a lot into Hip Hop before switching to a particular form of Electronic Music which we fancy also down here, an interest which furthermore lead him to sample A Tribe Called Quest for his first release as "16" alongside with Kean. Furthermore he dove into Cadenza, nothing in the world could come between him and his quest then, as he conquered the world's record crates as well as dancefloors radically and imposed his vision as many times as bookings and speakers allowed it.
Now with Roche Madame (Roche Noire, and Roche Edits), he has full control and decides to deliver music that summarizes his years of experience, as well as gives a chance to newcomers and friends around producing music that matches with his vision. Fresh new blood stream from the young and powerful man that he is, giving back to the world of Electronic Music as it gave to him. And where would you think someone originating this solid idea of music would live a prolific life? I'll leave you to it for a minute... Après vous Madame!
AlexKid, one of my first music crush as a 20 something (and also one of my first video game! The Big Fist little boy!). Raised in Pigalle, the boiling nightlife center of Paris for decades (if not centuries), he started gazing at synths from a very young age. Then followed a series of albums on F-Com, residency of four years at Rex Club, "la totale" as we'd say.
Now all set in the one city in the world that allows creativity to express itself (shit I should stop saying it as we're already facing tsunami of mindless newcomers...), this multi instrumentalist, DJ, and fantastic sound engineer (a few friends dealt with him as so, really worth the investment!) is also designing Ableton Live racks for your mind to speak right here, as well as giving valuable speeches and masterclasses. Pure humble power. Simple as that. No bragging, no bullshit in there.
After his release on Rawax last year, he now delivers in there a fantastic deep driving track on Molly's Récit De Voyage imprint.
You're going for a solid steady groove here, and that touch of acid rooting to the ground even more. Again some lovely stuff from this legendary man.
Unknown Artist. That one has signed some amount of music in the past 25-30 years. How many edits, how many remixes? As many as one called Various Artists (trumpet sound here)
Humans tend to fear the unknown, but Electronic Music (and the Disco scene back in the days) turned that fear upside down by worshiping it, cherishing the secret sometimes of an artist or a person wanting to be there just for the music, leaving fame and recognition to the simple minded that most of us are, lettting the art speak for legal, personal, or artistic reasons.
One of these tracks, comes from a cool experience originated by a fantastic group of people from all over the world almost, desiring to share their passion for art and Abstract. It's all I can say about the origin of some sounds in there.
For the rest, you'll have to know I'm sharing this here because the artist is indeed french. Someone everyone knows and has good time with, someone who's musical knowledge equals his skyscraping passion for music in many of its forms. Someone with authentic guidelines in music, and a bag of skills making Santa's sack look like a fanny bag in Berghain on December 24th.
And of course, it's out on Roche Madame :-)
3 words to summarize that beauty : HON THE FRENCHIES!
Have I forgot someone here you think? Share in in comments! May their voices be heard!