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Any historians keen on the subject of "French youth in the 1980s" are holding a treasure in their hands. As a true archaeologist of this decade dedicated to disposable culture, digger-in-chief Vidal Benjamin with his newest compilation, 'Pop Sympathie', offers them a unique journey in the heart of the cyclone of emotions that struck all teenagers during the first seven years of François Mitterrand's mandate. Fifteen musical nuggets, exhumed from the dungeons of history, each and every one of them teaching us about what really obsessed the youngsters at that exact moment, i.e. what happens when the city lights come on at dusk, when irrepressible urges that stir them to get lost even more appear until the end of the night.

The artists gathered here did not have the honour of breaking into the local charts, but they all individually reached for the sky. Each song of 'Pop Sympathie' tells more or less the same story: that of a girl who throws herself into the night like one immerses one's self into the void, who rushes into a one-night adventure to become a star. And too bad if in the early morning she finds herself back at square one. In all these miniature odysseys there is neon lights, lasers, smoke machines, broken glass on checkered tiles, strangers on leather benches, celebrities in the bathrooms, stolen kisses, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes, Polaroids, venetian blinds and radioactive tubes.

If the first opus of Vidal Benjamin, 'Disco Sympathie', focused on the funky mood of songs that could have been played at Le Palace, then 'Pop Sympathie' develops itself as the imaginary soundtrack of another nightclub, Les Bains-Douches, the capital’s epicenter of nocturnal drifts. So what do we listen to, blasé, at Bains-Douches? Mainly synthesizers. The child of punk and post punk, French New Wave celebrates the matrimony of machines and lolitas under the auspices of a retro trend that revisits the atomic age. Trying to surf on that wave and hit the charts, a bunch of producers (Stéphane Berlow, Laurent Stopnicki, Bernard "Black Devil" Fèvre, Johny Rech, Jean-Yves Joanny ...) will spot their talents amongst friends, in a travel agency or at the local bar. These virtual stars are called Cecilia, Laurent, Sonia, Janou, Fabienne, Anne, Arielle or Ronan, not even 20 years old, and often leaving just an overexposed photo and their first name on a single as the only memories of their swift passage in this particular musical story. It took all the love and sweet madness of Vidal Benjamin to bring them back in the light of day.

Clovis Goux 

Etienne Jaumet

Etienne Jaumet In Dub Part 1 - DJ Sotofett / I:Cube Remixes

Parisian pop-pickers Versatile present the first half of a limited 7 inch series featuring dub versions of selected tracks from Etienne Jaumet's latest album, "8 regards obliques", in which he gathered and covered his personal jazz favourites. The first volume sees DJ Sotofett turn 'Unity' into high grade, and highly psychedelic digi dub on the A-side, whilst on the flip I:Cube revisits Miles Davis' classic, 'In A Silent Way', turning it into a stellar 135bpm version for the post peak gliders out there.

Etienne Jaumet

8 Regards Obliques

    In a time when Jazz music is entering a contemporary renaissance and exciting the ears and minds of new audiences, Zombie Zombie's Étienne Jaumet offers us his unique, idiosyncratic take on the sound with the sprawling “8 Regards Obliques”, his 3rd solo album with the Versatile label.

    Jazz requires a certain freedom of technique, interpretation and improvisation that already matches Jaumet’s own production style and sonic aesthetic as well as his playful approach towards music. The eight pieces that make up the new LP were very quickly recorded; Jaumet let himself be carried away by the atmosphere without focusing too much on fine details or the laborious aspects of the composition process. The finished article is a spontaneous collection that stands out, a true mirror image of the creative process adopted by the artist. Not surprisingly, spontaneity is one of the characteristics already present in his music, in both his recorded output and his live happenings, where he leaves much room for freedom and improvisation.

    “8 Regards Obliques” was recorded at the Versatile studio in less than 3 weeks with quite a basic set up: TR 808, selected synthesizers, vocals and of course the saxophone, which is a constant presence also in his previous albums. For the mix Etienne has again appealed to the maestro I:Cube, a central figure of the Versatile story and a prdigious engineer and artist in his own right. He immediately understood that it was necessary to keep the spontaneous side alive and to not over-produce the pieces or over-edit them, being constantly mindful to retain the power in the sound and in the frequencies. From Sun Ra with “Nuclear war”, Miles Davis in “Shhh / Peaceful” or “Theme from a symphony” by Ornette Coleman to “Caravan” (already quoted by many jazzmen), Etienne enjoyed revisiting classic masterpieces and paying tribute to his inspirations. He allowed himself only one personal and original composition, “Ma révélation mystique”.


    It's already been 5 years since the last Zombie Zombie album "Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde", after which the group explored other territories by signing 2 film scores, namely "Loubia Hamra" by Narimane Mari and "Irréprochable" by Sébastien Marnier, as well as creating the music accompanying a contemporary circus show called 'Slow Futur' created by Martin Palisse and Elsa Guérin. Wouldn't these beautiful parentheses make you want to return to the sources? After 10 years at Versatile Records, 2017 also marks the decade anniversary of the release of their first album 'A Land for Renegades' in 2007. "Livity" - Zombie Zombie's latest opus seems to plunge us deep into science fiction, with a cover designed by the mythic cartoonist Philippe Druillet, who is also the founder of the cult Métal Hurlant comic series. The title of the album is somewhat misleading, as one could mistakenly think of a certain dub record made at the famous Island Records Compass Point studio in the Bahamas. For the uninitiated 'Livity' or 'Life force' is actually a Rastafarian spiritual concept based on the idea that an energy exists within, and flows through, all people and all living things. The record was recorded last winter in Paris, in a very short time frame. 7 tracks played live in 7 days, by Etienne Jaumet (synthesizers / rhythm box / metallophone / sax), Cosmic Neman (drums / vocals / sound effects), and Dr. Schonberg (percussion / electronics / trumpet), recorded at the Red Bull Studios by Thibaut Javoy and Jerome Caron, 2 very competent engineers. To keep it in the family, the album was then mixed by another member of the Versatile stable, the mysterious and legendary DJ/producer I:Cube, done in the label's Victor Studio.
    On this album the principles that are dear to the group rest being respected, still as far away as always from the standards of 'radio play', A living kind of music, composed of long instrumental moments recorded with analog synthesizers and drum machines, accompanied by drums and percussion. But I:Cube's touch may bring the unique energy that one may find at Zombie Zombie's concerts; on certain cuts like title track 'Livity' that the group recorded in Laos, a wild combination of 808 kick drums and bewitching jungle sounds that sound quite unlike anything else out there, and especially on 'Hippocampe', which gives the impression of hearing an old school hip hop rhythm with the power of a metal band who have replaced their guitars with an army of synthesizers: we recommend you listen to this particular track in a convertible while speeding down the highway.
    As with all of Zombie Zombie's music the cinematic component is still strong, on titles like 'Ils existent..' 'Acera' which was originally composed for ciné-concerts accompanying the films of Jean Painlevé et Maurice Pialat. The energy of the beginning is still very present, as is - of course - the kraut inspiration. But it's also an album that takes new directions and sonic risks, like on “Looose”, which brings to mind the Art Ensemble of Chicago, or the groove of James Chance in New York in the early 1980's, featuring the free sax solos of Etienne Jaumet and Dr. Schonberg on the trumpet. The group also offers some slower and calmer titles, like 'Heavy Meditation' as well as exploring more experimental tracks in the line of French 70's groups such as Lard Free or Richard Pinhas, for example on the bonus track 'Black Moon'.
    Please - Take your time, and enjoy listening!

    A few months ago France synth obsessives Zombie Zombie put out a four track LP originally composed to score a juggling related performance art piece (bloody Frenchies eh?). To the surprise of our Zombies, "Slow Futur" sold out in a matter of days, so they decided to give it a longer lease of life via this red hot remix disc. Opening the set in total darkness is Piccadilly favourite, Kriedler mainstay and Salon Des Amateurs co-founder Tolouse Low Trax. The Dusseldorf man follows up killer releases on Themes For Great Cities and Antinote with a slowly unfolding piece of machine voodoo. Weaving black magic through bleeping keys, African rhythms and industrial toughness, Detlef does his thing, locking us into a hypnotic, glue-sniffing groove from start to finish. Over the other side, I:Cube lends "Hyperspace" a lilting dub flavour via thick bass notes, system twisting fx and lush soundscapes. Fresher than a cool summer evening, this dubby synth redux should play very nicely with anything from the Peaking Lights corner of your collection. Lastly, the legendary Gilb'r provides a percussive reprise, retaining some of that wall shaking dub bass, but adding a whole load of polyrhythmia for a humid, tropical delight.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Three production heavyweights step up on a remix tip here, offering very different flips of Zombie Zombie's driving "Hyperspace". Tolouse Low Trax slows things right down for a mindbending exercise in machine voodoo, I:Cube gets deeply dubby and Gilb'r goes round the globe with a totally tropical take on matters.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    12" Info: *one copy found!**


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