French Music has always been known for extremes…probably unfairly so if you were to pay as much attention to other countries output from the 60’s onward.
Maybe it’s just a psyche to associate with what one always thinks of when you think of France….. romantic, alternative, arty, forward thinking, decadence…….bringing us to music…….Chanson, Pop, Sexy (Serge), Lounge (Air), Reggae, Minimal, Punk, Electro…..(yes I know, Serge fits into all of these, but I’m not writing about Serge today).
But hey……French is a language designed to be sung and it sounds great, no matter what you are singing or whether you can sing or not….
Serindip Lab have just released the second compilation of French Synth Lovers music.
This is a great little compilation of Synth Wave recorded between 81 and 84, with two differing sides…..sunny, sweet synth pop and cosmic instrumentals. Just when you thought you may have had your fill of Minimal 80’s synth pop a few years ago, the Serindip Lab people plug in your synchro boxes and bring you some quality stuff.
There seems to be a very tight knit sound coming out of both Belgium and France Minimal Synth Pop bands at this time….pop being the key element here…….rhythm machines typically sounding Dr Rhythm, 606/808 with a touch of reverb, ARP, EMS Synth’s, analogue mono synths with gated tones and funky syncopated bass lines….all programmed within their own isolated sequencers and linked together with lovely pre midi synchro!!!! giving that edge that midi eliminated ……. a sort of strange form of quantize.
There is also a Jean Michel Jarre twinge to the presentation, as to whether it’s just blatant French chord changes and the machines being used…who knows……probably the EMS’s
Without intending to insult any French or Belgian Musicians, the similarities of this scene are identical (I suppose you could say the same of all minimal and yes, it has been described as second rate, demo quality experimental music that wasn’t fit for release at the time)….maybe so, but we didn’t have access and finance to solve that back in the early 80’s…so now is a good time.
A classic sounding well known artist, Monsieur Denis Quillard (the late Jacno to you and me), bought the sound to the forefront in France…straight out of The Stinky Toys French New Wave Punk into simplistic instrumental synth pop
Jacno liked his shapes in more ways than one, and created another benchmark with Triangle, you can do this for so long without needing to add curves, so added Elli Medeiros on vocals and hey presto!!! French sixties sounding synth pop ……
pur français synthé sexe pour votre plaisir
It’s 79 and in Belgium, Wanda Maria Ribeiro Furtado Tavares de Vasconcelos, (Lio, to you and me) has got Marc Moulin and Dan Lacksman (of Telex…..the Belgian Equivalent of Kraftwerk, but with a very Belgian sense of humour) to produce and program for her a Stinky Toys cover, Amoureux Solitaires and Le Banana Split which sold over i million copies, based on the fact that sex sells records in France and a video of a provocative banana can get you anywhere Serge Gainsbourg hasn’t been.
Infact, Amoureux Solitaires was a Stinky Toys cover.......continuing the tradition of incest.......
The future of the late Jacno was going to be in production and whilst releasing 2 solo LP’s and 3 with Elli, he produced the legendary Mathematiques Moderne….a classic French proto electro track by the duo of Edwige et Claude.
Disco-Rough gained cult status on Celluloid compilations past, present and no doubt future.....
Meanwhile Czerkinsky and Borel Mikado carried that sweet simple sound through from 82 to 88 ….with the likes of the heavily Peirre et Gillies graphics in video form.
It could be argued that Pierre et Gilles typified this sound in their visuals…and you can never have too much P&G in your life !!
Ofcourse, French Minimal Wave is a vast genre and there are plenty of compilations and labels out there to prove it…..iconic Vague française minime band Deux consisting of Gerard et Cati have all their works out on Veronica Vasicka’s brilliant Minimal Wave label……..
Oh yes, before I forget........the reason of this post was to promote this.......
Check out the rest of the releases on Serendip Lab here…….
This post was about a label and a particular sound.........