French Punk MusicPunk French Music
French post earth FEELS tour.
Giving the house music a French touch.
The French Touch, certainly even the most superficial consumers of dance music, and not only, will know what we're talking about, or at least they'll be able to guess from the first notes of a world success like Music Sound's Better With You by Stardust - among others signed by Thomas Bangalter, fifty percent of the Daft Punk duet of course, released in 1998.
This article aims to try to be successful in the company by reconstructing and briefly summarising its history, by recalling its main protagonists and their repertoire, and by taking a look at the precise movement behind its most famous successes and lesser-known pieces, but still wanting to remain in memory.
A musical style that is more than the result of an epochal Big Bang has experienced its development and decline, taking a slow but unstoppable course. Although the British journalist Martin James is credited with the authorship of the term - to be more precise, he refers to the review of the seminal EP Super Discount series, edited by producer Étienne de Crécy, for the late weekly Melody Maker - his birth dates back to the early 1990s, on the occasion of the advertising campaign for the Respect for France collection published by the then very active Fnac Music Dance Division record company.
In fact, the name - if not the genre itself - was given by the phrase "We Give A French Touch to House Music" printed on advertising jackets distributed by the label among dj' from all over the Alps. While it is easy to trace the origin of the French touch designation, it is more complicated to identify its stylistic roots and above all to create a map of its evolution.
In general, however, it is inevitable to be among the initiators of the electronic scene and the French DJ, Laurent Garnnier and his F Communication team. Influenced by Detroit' Detroit and Chicago Houses, in the early 1990s already he had a very serious syllabus, thanks to his past behind the console of the legendary Hacienda in Manchester, an experience that made him an ideal catalyst for talent within his own record company founded in 1994.
From his collaboration with Garnier himself and his future fellow-labelist Shazz, with Choice's leader on the Acid Eiffel track, to his debut Boulevard, his fusion of depth House and jazzy in 1995 attracted the attention of the influential British press more than any other,
that the monthly magazines Muzik and Dj Mag paved the way in a way and from then on became decisive for the success of a fierce group of young producers and DJs who moved within the Paris clubs and shared a love of visceral radio, discos, hip hopping and the most hedonistic heyday.
And it is precisely around these sound coordinates that the most typical French-style house moves, with a broad and casual use of samples from the 70s and 80s, filtered and processed - often with cut and paste techniques borrowed from the most classical hook-hop - to create almost always completely unrecognisable connotations and origins;
with a strong preference for the more pleasant and frivolous side of clubscape, a visual language that often goes far beyond the boundaries of kitsch, a constant proximity to the world of fashion and its changes, combined with a natural sensitivity to pop, lived without too much guilt and a melodic instinct thanks to which some of the producers who were part of this scene managed to reach or at least touch the Mainstream in the second half of the 90s and early 2000s.
This musical invasion is led by some very aggressive deejays and producer, who still hold up the honour of the "Grande Nation" in many ways today. Of fundamental importance for the scene is his contribution, both as owner of the projects La Funk Mob, together with Hubert Blanc-Francard and Boom Bass, and under the pseudonym Cassius.
Among these important firstovers it is impossible not to mention Dimitri Yerasimos alias Dimitri From Paris and his record Sacrebleu with its original fusion of club music and discotheque music. One of the first bestsellers in this wave of music. And of course the most popular representatives of the French Touch should not be missing on this list: the shy, mysterious and unpredictable Daft Punk.
Daft Punk's success has grown from the lightning-fast Da Funk to the present day, beyond the changes in music season and fashion. A success of the duet that always dictates the rules of the game, defines the aesthetics of the so-called French touch and then mixes the style elements as desired.
For those of you who still believe that there's some kind of relationship between Daft Punk and D-3BO and C1-P8 from Star Wars, we'll reveal a secret: the two masked producers had been on the pages of the major magazines long before their debut albums were released, just like Mom did. A family affair, which Bangalter & de Homen-Christo -Daft Punk- on the one hand uses the more or less substantial cooperation of some local talents since their beginnings, starting with Laurent Brancowitz (a few years later in the ranks of Phoenix, as a member of the indie-rock adventure of the duet under the name Darlin'), DJ Falcon, Alan Braxe and Fred Falke - the first record company in Bangalter's Roster Roulé, founded in 1995;
the second, co-author with Benjamin Diamond of the aforementioned success under the pseudonym Stardust; the third - together with Braxe - author of the classic filler Intro, up to the real genetic relationship that connects Guy-Manuel with his brother Paul, part of the duet The Buffalo Bunch, one of the names that are part of the stable Crydamoure, an influential Outlet that was founded in 1997 by the same member of DP.
With their worldwide distribution, the most important representatives of the movement became true style icons. Unforgotten are some adidas and Daft Punk campaigns or the association with the Ed Banger crews in collections, exclusive parties and songs used in viral campaigns.
Beyond the surface, the brand's attention for the Parisian scene goes beyond and finds new and more promising names in the underground. It' s no coincidence that now that the Rex Club has regained its strength, the Rex Club has become famous, to name but a few, the scene is ready to perpetuate the moment and play its part.
On September 1st, on the occasion of the launch of the new NMD_XR1, a celebration will take place in Paris where music and art, past and future will merge into something unique. The musical aspect remains in the young but already experienced hands of Clara 3000, Bambounou and Maya Jane Coles. The Gym Tonic deal, a worldwide success, was very well known at that time. It was produced in undefined circumstances from Bangalter to Christophe Le Friant - better known by the infamous pseudonym of Bob Sinclar, at that time already a successful producer and co-founder of the label since 1993 - in partnership and was included on his debut record Paradise, released in 1995.
The uncertain and controversial authorship of the play and the enormous success achieved at that time only intensified the hostility between the two. But not only the Daft Punks used a network of cooperations within the Paris scene. One example among many: the very effective resurrection of the Buffalo Bunch of If I Ever Feel Better, Phoenix's first big success.
The French scene at that time produced many participants. Especially in his sophisticated New Comer, David Duriez, DJ Gregory, Demon, I:Cube record - one of the top names of the labels Versatile to this day - Ark as Guillaume Berroyer and Pepe Bradock as Julien Auger - together under the acronym Trankilou and separately, with a special mention for the latter and his 1999 released classic Deep Burnt.
For those who want to discover or rediscover the repertoire of the golden age of French Touch, the advice is to look for the infinity of the XPs that gave birth to this scene. However, a whole series of interesting albums from these latitudes, created during the heyday of French dancing, are still relatively easy to find.
Starting with the homework, the 1997 long-distance debut for Daft Punk, to perhaps release the first band of the already mentioned Super Discount series, which was released just a year earlier, a shop window for talent and originality has arrived since then. In the collection of every decent Francophile is also Pansoul, the first and only Motorbass record, a very elegant, minimal and organic distillate from the best distillery, released in 1996.
I: Cube's Picnic Attack is also of great importance, followed by other equally interesting albums of him. Later in the same decade we also find 1999 - the debut of Cassius, or the new musical identity of Zdar and Boom Bass - Etienne de Crécy and his beautiful Tempovision. In addition, there is the French Fried Funk series, curated by Ivan Smagghe, an influential retailer behind the counters of the Rough Trade Shops in Paris at the beginning of the movement, later an employee of Radio Nova, until he himself began a career as a DJ and Producer, which has accompanied him with the Black Strobe project to this day.
On the more jazz side, the obligatory stop is the second record of St. Germain, Tourist. An unexpected critical and promotional success that led to a whole series of music projects based on the same atmosphere. Some of the chart hits that followed the first wave of French Touch came from producers who were only indirectly part of the scene and whose quality level alternated between the friendliness of super funk - their classic shaping star is also included in the mixture to this article - and the most dubious Starlight of The Supermen Lovers and Lady of Modjo to the talkative David Guetta,
is one of the first moves of the Paris nightclubbing scene of the 90s, on whose discography the writer prefers not to express himself. Of course, the four quarter speakers of the French House are not the only ones who have shaped the sound productions beyond the Alps of those years.
A few years later, Troublemakers and Sébastien Tellier - to name only the most popular - took up slow times, were inspired by the 60s, the psychedelia and the spirit, and were inspired by the patron of the French music scene, Serge Gainsbourg, to check out the sounds and revive the aesthetics.
If you are one of the few people who have never had the pleasure of listening to Air's Moon Safari - or perhaps even better the singles that were previously released and are available in the Premiers Symptoms collection - make up for the shortage and a world will open up for you. Freely inspired by the beginning of the golden age of the French House and its protagonists, Mia Hansen Løves tries to reconstruct the atmosphere of those years with all the limitations that every cultural movie brings with it.
In addition to the already mentioned names, Pierre "Pedro" Winters as Busy Po and Gildas Loaec - the lieutenants of the DPs within their Daft Trax Company and the already mentioned Roulé and Crydamoure outlets and, more generally, everything to do with the planet Daft Punk - are added indirectly. Since the beginning of the 2000s, initiators and protagonists of the second wave of French electronics at the head of the Ed Banger and Kitsuné label.
To tell the truth, many people think that the French touch, as we knew it, has reached its climax and turning point with Daft Punk's second record, the bestseller Discovery. The dirty, sensual Jackin' Haus of her debut gives way from this moment on to softer Synthie Hop, the temptations of progressive music, science fiction.
Inevitably, the French sound revolution found many epigones in the world dancing scene, from one side of the Atlantic to the other, with the hits of Armand Van Helden -You Don't Know Me, Roger Sanchez -Another Chance- and Pete Heller -Big Love- among the most famous, perfect clones of the most typical French Filterhouse.
But the French school has also found its pupils in Italy: Stylophonic, Crookers, Spiller, Furano School, Fare Soldi. All more or less in the debt of the great revolutionaries of dancing from all over the Alps. A musical revolution that will hardly be repeated in the future, but on which we still live by reflecting the positive effects.
"Cos'è il French Touch? When you went to the record stores, you had to ask for the "filtered house" to make yourself understood, so mostly great discos in loops. When I talked to the smaller ones about myself, they started talking about Ed Banger, Sebastian, Justice and Daft Punk.