VITALIC SHARES ‘WAITING FOR THE STARS’ FEAT. DAVID SHAW AND ANNOUNCES 4TH STUDIO ALBUM ALSO FEATURING MISS KITTIN, ‘VOYAGER’ IS SET FOR RELEASE ON JANUARY 20TH VIA CLIVAGE MUSIC AND CAROLINE INTERNATIONAL
It’s been a good fifteen years now since Vitalic (aka Pascal Arbez-Nicolas) took it upon himself to redefine techno using his native French sensibility, mixing energy and melody to forge his own recognisable style. Many of those tunes, like “Poney”, “La Rock 01”, “My Friend Dario” and “You Prefer Cocaine” went on to become club classics, blurring the boundaries between techno, disco, rock and pop, and profoundly inspiring and stimulating a scene that had been struggling since the end of the ‘French touch’ to find something a little more refreshing than filtered disco house.
It could be said that Vitalic ushered in the French Touch 2.0, masterfully bringing bangers back into fashion and putting France back on the dancefloor map. With his first production signed by tastemaker DJ Hell for his Gigolo imprint, Vitalic paid scant regard to genre boundaries and concentrated on simply knocking out some killer tunes – a mix of irresistible melodies, stampeding synths and pure energy. Within a few years, French electronica had changed direction, eschewing the dancefloors for which it had originally been conceived and starting to tour, live. A revolution was born – Vitalic opened the way and Daft Punk, Justice and Etienne de Crecy followed.
Since his first album, “OK Cowboy” in 2005 which mixed galloping techno, brass bands, 100,000 volt electric guitars and languorous pop songs so sad they could make a stone weep, Vitalic has constantly tried to reinvent himself, pushing his idea and vision of disco to the extreme. This constant renewal is no doubt where the producer finds his strength, exploring every facet (like a disco ball), the myriad possibilities of what he calls metal disco, or more prosaically “disco-poilue” – fuzzy disco.
For “Voyager”, his fourth studio album composed over the course of two years and the one he considers his most ‘disco’ ever, Vitalic remembers initially wanting to make something that could barely be danced to, inspired by the electronic music of the 1970s. However, that angle of attack was rapidly diverted. “I changed my mind during production and added beats,” he explains. “Voyager” thus became a record that has forgotten nothing of the cosmic disco heritage of the 1980s, dominated by deeply energetic, orgasmic synthesisers with influences from pioneers of the genre like Moroder, Cerrone, Patrick Cowley, Lime, Spacer, Carpenter and Gino Soccio.
Both the name and sublimely retro-futuristic artwork of “Voyager” clearly announce the direction Vitalic has taken – this is a cosmic space odyssey, packed with energy-filled retro-futuristic hits perfect for dancing in zero gravity, followed by melancholic cooldown periods spent contemplating the lost galaxies of the vast cosmos. “El Viaje”, the album’s opening track with its Latin-tinged melody, is the perfect launchpad for this cosmic expedition, where analogue synths (like the super-rare Buchla) have taken over and are now laying down the law. It’s a weightless voyage that sends our emotions on a rollercoaster ride, from first single “Waiting For The Stars” – featuring David Shaw and an irresistible disco-pop hit with gimmicks à la “Funky Town” – to “Levitation”, a veritable turbine punctuated by screams from the crowd as only Vitalic knows how, to “Eternity”, a sort of synthetic opera or contemporary hybrid of Wim Mertens and Klaus Nomi. However, on “Voyager” you’ll also find “Lightspeed”, a true dancefloor bomb filled with outrageously funky synth rifts, you’ll be fascinated by “Sweet Cigarette”, a sombre rock-influenced track haunted by the ghost of “Warm Leatherette” (as performed by The Normal) and “Hans is Driving” an electronic nursery rhyme with Miss Kittin lost in the cosmos discussing the meaning of life with an artificial intelligence, before breaking down in sobs to “Don’t Leave me Now”, a throbbing, ambient Supertramp cover version. Conceived as a cosmic journey into the heart of dance music, “Voyager” perfectly brings together the three elements that have always composed Vitalic’s strength: a touch of experimental folly, killer melodies and a joyful overabundance of energy. It’s this magic formula that makes “Voyager” the ideal disc to listen to with your feet on the dancefloor and your eyes fixed on the stars. Or vice-versa.
Boston based new comer johan has quickly caught attention with a trio of well received releases. Debut track ‘danger_us’, follow up ‘stardust’ and recently revealed Robin Hannibal (RHYE) collaboration ‘High In The Woods’ has seen johan pick up notable praise, with the latter hitting number 2 on the Spotify Global Viral chart. Now johan reveals his fourth track, ‘Bravery’. The track is co-written by How To Dress Well, produced by J_ and showcases johan at his largest sounding yet. Speaking on the track, johan states:
“Working with How to Dress Well on this one was awesome. He had this idea for this heroic chorus idea around the word Bravery. I thought we could make it work if we made it about asking a girl to stay brave and push through some hard times in the relationship. It was also really cool doing my first song that I haven’t produced myself. I threw some crazy ideas like that triplet side-chain figure on the chorus at J_ the producer and he tied it all together amazingly I think.”
johan is set to make his live debut on the Pigeons & Planes stage at ComplexCon. Keep your eyes peeled for more in the near future.
Today marks the release for ‘Echo’ by Nils Bech — a busy stage actor and singer already well known in his native Norway for three albums released on Oslo’s Fysisk Format, The keys to the seachange lie with Bech’s new collaborator, the young underground DJ, producer and beatmaker Drippin, known for his work with American rap artists such as LE1F and Cakes Da Killa. As a result, where his previous work was strange, ethereal and otherworldly – completely and utterly unique – Echo throbs with a renewed sense of vigour and urgency, without losing any of the idiosyncratic beauty which marked Bech’s work out before.
The sound created here is strange and immediate. Stuttering sharp bass kicks combine with clanging 5-alarm snare drums made of glass, orchestra stabs and melancholy piano lines jump in and out of the arrangements. These new elements and ideas are married to the already singular voice of Nils Bech, with Echo becoming something new, exciting and 100% Norwegian – homegrown and ready for the world. Just listen to new track “Waiting” for evidence of his truly inimitable vision, as martial drums anchor Bech’s floating, weightless vocals, to create something swoonsome, beguiling and defiantly its own creature.
The music comes to full fruition when performed live, as proven at two packed performances at the 2016 By Larm Festival where Nils was joined onstage by both Drippin & Øyvind Mathisen, who also produced, arranged and played on the album alongside Bech. Make sure not to miss the completely original and striking sound of Nils Bech.
“I wanted to make an album where romantic harmonies meet hard beats, with sudden transitions between the painful and the beautiful. Just like love.” – Nils Bech
Too Little Too Late
Glimpse Of Hope
A Sudden Sickness
RIP Swirl is the latest project of 25-year old producer Luka Seifert, who normally released under his Luka alias. RIP Swirl is used for his productions that are more suited for the dancefloor. He will release a new EP, entitled Doomed. Below you can stream a cut off the EP, Parisien, which can be downloaded for free via XLR8R here.
It’s not everyday that pianist and composer, Francesco Tristano, joins forces with one of the Belleville Three — the godfathers of Detroit techno — and yet, anyone who’s followed the Luxembourg artist will know that expectation is not a currency he deals in.
Set for release on Transmat, the groundbreaking label from said techno pioneer, Derrick May, Surface Tension is not just the latest album from the prolific Tristano, but perhaps the most significant in his ongoing explorations into electronic music.
Described by the man himself as his “most techno and synth-based project yet,” the eight-track effort is both a celebration of electronic instrumentation and the first record May has worked extensively on for the better part of two decades. “I had to lure him into my studio,” Tristano says of May with a smile, “he was like Alice in Wonderland when he saw the synthesizers.”
￼Originally developed as a way create new material for Tristano’s p:anorig project — a unique live set- up debuted at Barcelona’s Sónar festival earlier this year, which finds the artist surrounded by large array of keyboards, synthesizers and other equipment (although ironically, no piano) in full view of the audience — Surface Tension grew into a project in its own right. Now 34 years old, Tristano explains that he is only now at a time in his life where he has a studio he can truly call his own.
“I can hook up all these synthesizers that I’ve picked up over the years,” he continues, “it’s the fulfilment of that.” With a collection of analogue, digital, classic and modern gear — ranging from Prophets to Moogs, to Rolands and Yamahas — at his and May’s disposal, Tristano has aimed to keep processing to a minimum from the word go. The pair aren’t just using these synths, they’re paying tribute to them: honouring the rich, recognisable sound palettes that have made them household names.
The result is an album that feels, at once, nostalgic and fresh; that feels like an old friend, but one who never ceases to surprise. From the ambient vision of ‘esotheric thing’, drifting along to the sound of birdsong, to more beat-centric pieces such as ‘0001 mentor’ and the quirky ‘0001 xokolade’, the equipment, and the love it’s been treated with, shines through.
Both Tristano and May’s individual presences are obvious too, yet work in a way so complimentary to each other as to blur the lines at which they cross. ‘Pacific FM’ is a lesson in uplifting techno, keys fluttering over padfoot bass; the futuristic Detroit dance of ‘1 In Da Minor’ is undercut by eerie, unpredictable glass synth-work; ‘Rocco’s Bounce’ is free-form jazz tugged into line by structured four- to-the-floor; there’s even an itchy, jittering, Decca Records-sanctioned remix of Japanese pianist and general Renaissance man, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s classic ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’.
Those hoping for a Francesco Tristano piano album: be duly warned. “The piano is there, but it’s more like the shadow of the piano. We don’t have the mass of that sound, it’s more like the reminiscence of that sound,” says Tristano. But it’s this that gives Surface Tension the aforementioned significance.
Tristano hasn’t abandoned his roots — they’re deep, but there, for those who wish to find them — yet has simultaneously transcended what it means to be a pianist in the 21st century. Tristano and May have brought together old and new, within themselves and on a wider musical level, and in doing so, rekindled the spirit of futurist expression that techno was first founded on all those years ago.
Out on Transmat on November 25.
1. Francesco Tristano – Sakamoto – Merry Christm…no Rework)
￼2. Francesco Tristano feat. Derrick May – The Mentor
￼3. Francesco Tristano – Pacific FM
￼4. Francesco Tristano feat. Derrick May – Infinite Rise
￼5. Francesco Tristano feat. Derrick May – In Da Minor
￼6. Francesco Tristano – Rocco’s Bounce
￼7. Francesco Tristano – Xokolad
￼8. Francesco Tristano feat. Derrick May – Es
Time to locate the hairs on the back of your neck – they will soon be standing to attention. The Cinematic Orchestra are back with the first single from their hugely anticipated forthcoming studio album and it’s everything you could hope for: an epic, heart-achingly sad, but beautiful and uplifting piece of music based on the simple idea that “the prerequisite of everything in life is belief”.
Original Cinematic Orchestra main-man Jason Swinscoe has now been joined on production duties by longtime friend and collaborator Dom Smith, and the result of this partnership is some of the most poised, ravishing music of this band’s stellar career.
On “To Believe”, Swinscoe and Smith collaborated with the much talked about LA based vocalist Moses Sumney, named one-to-watch by Pitchfork and the Fader, as well as artists including Beck, Sufjan Stevens, Solange and James Blake, and listening to his work with TCO, you can understand why. Building from simple acoustic guitar and voice to trademark TCO piano work and, eventually, full – and completely scintillating – strings, all held together by Sumney’s ghostly yet magnificent voice. It’s a piece that reaches back to the very roots of what The Cinematic Orchestra has always been while looking forward, drawing on new influences and production techniques to stay utterly contemporary. Moses Sumney will also join the band on their London dates to perform “To Believe”.
In celebration of this new single and previewing forthcoming material from next years studio album the band embark on a Europe wide tour (Dates below).
The Cinematic Orchestra were formed by Jason Swinscoe in 1999 and have become one of the most respected British acts of the last 17 years. Possessed of an emotional gravitas that transcends genre, they have sold out the Royal Albert Hall (twice) as well as the Sydney Opera House, and played countless international festivals the world over. Their famous track, “To Build A Home”, has been streamed well in excess of 60 million times and “Arrival of the Birds” closed out the end credits of the Oscar winning Stephen Hawking biopic, “Theory Of Everything”.
30 Oct – Rockhal, Luxembourg – LU
31 Oct – Les Docks, Lausanne – CH
1 Nov – Jazznojazz, Zurich – CH
3 Nov – The Sage, Gateshead – UK with Submotion Orchestra
4 Nov – O2 Academy, Glasgow – UK with Kathryn Joseph
5 Nov – Apollo, Manchester – UK with Submotion Orchestra & Mr Scruff
7 Nov – Colston Hall, Bristol – UK with Jameszoo
8 Nov – Rock City, Nottingham – UK with Submotion Orchestra
9 Nov – The Institute, Birmingham – UK with Submotion Orchestra
10 Nov – Eventim Apollo, London w/ Moses Sumney – UK with Thundercat & Gilles Peterson
11 Nov – Eventim Apollo, London w/ Moses Sumney – UK with Thundercat & Rival Consoles w/ Moses Sumney in band
12 Nov – άber Jazz Festival, Hamburg – DE
13 Nov – Schouwburg, Rotterdam – NL with Joep Beving
14 Nov – AB, Brussels – BE with Lefto
Montreal producer Jacques Greene has shared new song “Afterglow”. The 12″ is out on October 28 on LuckyMe Records with exclusive extended versions of Afterglow and You Can’t Deny.
Soul Clap’s second and self-titled album comes full circle for the Boston bred duo, carving a trajectory of their collective experience and forging an authentic testament to their true selves.
The spirit of the album was born during their first trip to Tallahassee, Florida to meet George Clinton, resulting in their 2015 single together, ‘In Da Kar’ featuring the one and only Sly Stone, and featured on Funkadelic’s 2015 critically acclaimed album. For their own album Soul Clap returned to Tallahassee to record at Clinton’s What? Studios, collaborating with many fresh young and local talent work day and night in P-Funk’s creative space. Between there, Miami, Red Bull Studios Manhattan, Midnight Magic’s studio in Greenpoint and Charlie Levine’s Rad Pad in Williamsburg, this body of music took its shape.
In ‘Soul Clap’ we can hear four years of maturing technique since their first album, carefully crafted and supported by a whole community of musical talent. In the words of Charles Levine, one half of the duo, “it digs deep into our funky souls and turns our wildest dreams into sound. If ‘EFUNK’ [their first album] was an attempt to create a blueprint using our past inspirations, then “Soul Clap” is the beautiful skyscraper, standing tall as it looks to the future.”
This is music from an eclectic universe, where creativity and mystery are the guides. Lead single ‘Shine’ is an anthemic wonder featuring the legendary Nona Hendryx, founding member of the group Labelle who’s ‘Lady Marmalade’ is a timeless classic and has collaborated with acts such as George Clinton & P-Funk, Talking Heads and Peter Gabriel to name a few. ‘Elevation’ and ‘Numb’ feature Tallahassee locals Ebony Houston, Ricky Tan, Dayonne Rollins and Freeky Neek, while original member of Funkadelic, Billy “Bass” Nelson brings his low-slung flavor to ‘Funk Bomb’ and ‘Future4Love’. Members of Soul Clap’s core Crew Love family, Wolf + Lamb, Nick Monaco and Greg Paulus of No Regular Play also play integral roles on this eleven track album, a truly collaborative endeavour that echoes its message through the soul.
Eli Goldstein and Charles Levine have a rare and insightful take on electronic music, their style breaks through the usual limitations that others often find themselves caged within and they have held residencies everywhere from Circo Loco at DC10 Ibiza, to Output in New York. “Long ago our mentor Caril Mitro from Vinyl Connection [a record store in their hometown of Boston] taught us that “House wears many hats”. That means that the music that we love so much comes in many shapes and sizes,’ explains Goldstein. ‘We are children of the 80’s and 90’s so funk and hip hop were our early influences, but discovering the rave and being led into house and disco, these genres feel very organic and homegrown to us. We carry these influences in our attitudes and beings. Music has the incredible power to shape a personality and it has molded us into the artists we have become.”
Starting out cutting their teeth in the early rave scene in Boston, they soon found fame through a series of edits and became household names through notable releases including a DJ Kicks alongside close allies Wolf + Lamb and their electric first album called EFUNK. The title, which stands for Everybody’s Freaky Under Nature’s Kingdom, and sounds like modern electronic funk, became their calling card. EFUNK is a bridge between the discerning futurism of underground dance and the charisma and boldness of funk and pop culture. For Charlie funk is his foundation, for Eli it’s jazz, and as their infamous Yoyoyo 90’s Jam parties testified (playing only classics from the era), they have the ability to transform and lead in more than one movement.
“Back in the day at the Warehouse in Chicago with Frankie Knuckles or The Paradise Garage with Larry Levan there was no one sound that dominated musically. It was all about diversity and eclecticism. This was the ethos then and it is a very large philosophy behind us individually and as Soul Clap. In fact it is diversity in sound that initially brought us together back in the 90’s and it is the yin-yang nature of us today that pushes us forward into the FUTURE!”
Culprit goes down Route 66 with the intensely original and inescapably beautiful release by Montreal’s coolest young export – Clarian. “Derail The Reptile Revolution” puts the “extended” back in the EP, with 5 songs of fresh ideas, unique delivery and offbeat humor.
A mini-album in all but a name, this collection is, possibly, the most cohesive artistic statement yet on the LA imprint. Likewise, the EP sums up Clarian’s six years of musical development, seeing the artist in full creative flight.
The five songs, each with distinct personality, are inspired by California desert mirages, neon Hollywood glow and faded sunsets over the Pacific. Neo-Future meets vivid Retro Analogue dreams…David Lynch’s “Dune” with the ghost of Hunter S. Thompson fully present.
Cosmic post-disco joins slow-burn techno, adorned with bits of New Wave, futuristic acid house and layers of celestial melodies that make for one-of-a-kind journey through space and time.
Clarian came into collective electronic music consciousness in 2010-11 with the Footprintz band project that burned fast like a comet but never faded away. Since then Clarian’s musings have found home on Visionquest, Rumors and Kompakt. It is now Culprit’s turn in the evolution of this exciting artist.
Release Date: November 21 on Culprit.
01. Derail the Reptile Revolution
02. Surfer Moon
04. Acid Moon
05. Cosmic Microwave