Sebastian Tellier Returns: Pure Sexuality


Alright my children. Whether you’re ready or not, it’s time to take a break from your nearly permanent, distortion-induced headache and prepare yourself to dive into the world of Sexuality. Not to say that grimy electro and sexuality aren’t connected in more than a few ways, but regardless, it’s always quite nice to have a few soft waves of poppy pleasure push your buttons every now and again. The problem is, you’ve probably already assumed I must be referencing something that isn’t heavy, and that’s related to Sexuality, and hence, “Sensual Seduction” is likely ready to play in your stereo. Bad child! See, while a good ninety percent of the world’s unfortunate population is being anything but turned on listening to Snoop Dog, you’ll be enlightened, and therefor, permitted to discover the meaning of pure satisfaction by way of Sebastian Tellier‘s “Sexuality”.

Indeed, the French electro-pop star has returned to bring you his fifth album, a musical experience the likes of which are, unfortunately, quite rare as of late. Using techniques that are strangely reminiscent of a particularly famous Donna Summer track (and not to mention the oh so familiar touch of producer, Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo of Daft Punk), Sexuality will take your hand and assist you on an incredible journey to delusion, confusion, pain, ecstasy, peace, insanity, and back. As would be expected, Tellier‘s approach is highly unusual; Never once will you feel like the album is forcing itself upon you, nor will you be able to chase it. It seems as though the best approach is to simply throw on some headphones, close your eyes and let those curious little chords approach you. But beware, if you let your guard down, they’ll truly devour you. In fact, I’ve nearly become entranced several times just in writing this little post.

If you missed the Donna Summers reference, a lil’ teaser might cue you in. Kinda makes you wonder who he got to do those “vocals”…

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Sebastian Tellier – Pomme (Download removed by request)

And slated to be his first single release off Sexuality:

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Sebastian Tellier – Divine

Though it should be available universally as of October of this year, Tellier has taken a somewhat strange approach on his release of Sexuality: The album is currently available as a promotional prerelease through Los Angeles clothing brand, American Apparel. Assuming you can’t wait until October for a bit of Sexuality, don’t you worry. You’ll be able to grab a copy of the album, as well as Tellier’s official line of tops, the Sexuali-Tee and Sexuali-Tank, at any of their retail locations.

What’s this!? It looks like electro is… evolving!

It’s quite strange, and to a certain extent, sad, that the fresh, hard-hitting, revolution-starting electro of only a year and a half or so ago has so quickly turned on itself. Nearly everything that, in the beginning, assisted the style in its rise to fame has essentially become it’s enemy. Blazing, distorted synths and an overall crunchy sound (perhaps the most prominent facets of the genre) have become a cliche, and despite that fact that last year was praised as “the best year in electro since 1998”, the people who are dropping the heaviest beats at this point in time are those who are steering in a direction as far away from last year as possible. But what on earth might that direction be?

I must emphasize that, though I am, indeed, sad to see the sounds that renewed the heart and soul of dance music become a bore, the usurping styles are really quite intriguing (and potentially already quite familiar). Artists like Australia’s Aston Shuffle and the Los Angeles Royal Rumble have begun to sacrifice the slap-you-in-the-face, bitcrushed noise that we’ve become accustomed to for a lighter, blippier, and powerfully bouncy sound that has, as of late, surfaced under the name mnmLOL, a term who’s origins have been traced back to the Acid Girls (No, I don’t know what they were thinking, but at least now it has a name. I was calling it “frumpy”). I hope I’m not thinking too far into the future in saying that the style seems to be catching on.

SupaBeatz


I’ve grown particularly fond of the Italian, SupaBeatz, who seems to be incorporating the minimalectro sound reminiscent of fellow Italians, Crookers, with the clicky cowbells, woodblocks, quick and funky Kid Sister-ish vocals, and 80’s esque blips that one would find down the mnmLOL alley, in order to forge a trail that’ll get you to work up a refreshing sweat. The point is, if you’re looking to impress, I suggest you get walking.

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MP3: SupaBeatz – Dope

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MP3: SupaBeatz – Alchemy

Ratatat – What a Pleasant Surprise

Despite the fact that the genre consisting of all the electronic and electro music has assembled much of it’s popularity due to the hype around “new and original sounds”, it would be foolish to deny the appearance of more than just a few styles that could easily be called generic. Artists like The Bloody Beetroots and Crookers have, since the time of their conception stood fast on top of the sounds and styles that they created for themselves, and though I cannot say that I do not enjoy those particular sounds, they certainly do become a bit tiresome after an extended run. Now, please don’t attack me with your feelings on how a group without a definite style is a is a forgettable one; I couldn’t agree more. But when it gets to the point where you almost don’t have to listen to a track before you know what it’s going to sound like, one cannot deny that it does become considerably less interesting.

Ratatat

It’s because of these “ruts”, into which so many artists have begun to fall, that I was, and still am, so thoroughly impressed by the latest album from the likes of Ratatat, entitled LP3: In all actuality, the odds were totally against them. Think about it. A year or two ago, they had a bit of a following, but we all know they didn’t truly emerge until about the time they made a world tour with Daft Punk. (Who would have thought?) In the months that followed, they gathered popularity exponentially, to the point where your red neck friend, who only bought an iPod just last year when he realized that he was among the 3% of people that still didn’t own one, actually came up to you and told you to listen to “Wildcat”, acting like you’d never heard it before. And a few months after that? “Ratatat? Yeah, whatever.” To make things worse, a few underwhelming tracks surfaced on the blogs not long after, which gave people the impression that Ratatat had nothing left to offer. Their path was that of a one hit wonder, and so many people have made premature assumptions, I guarantee that the world is not prepared for what’s about to gush from its noise-making machines:

Ratatat‘s LP3 is gorgeous, in the true sense of the word. Unlike the artists that follow the pattern in the aforementioned paragraph, Ratatat has managed to fulfill just about every request that one could ask for in a follow-up album. It has character, class, and depth, but most of all, they’ve evolved their style to the point that it’s completely fresh, while somehow managing to stay entirely the same. As a whole, the album is considerably lighter and more universally enjoyable, frequently substituting piano (and even an occasional clavichord) and strange and funky noises for some of the drums and extremely rich guitar sounds of their previous works. Nonetheless, you’ll never have to question who you’re listening to. It’s completely different, and it’s exactly the same. Commendable indeed.

Here’s a few tracks to tease, but I must inform you that the entire album is quite lovely. Do them kids a favor!

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MP3: Ratatat – Dura

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MP3: Ratatat – Mirando

LA Riots

And here’s a little toss in. For those of you who aren’t aware, a remix contest was staged a while back for “Lo Sforzo”, a querky electro track originally produced by IHEARTCOMIX‘s Ocelot (who has coined what’s probably close to my favorite phrase, ever: “All the fun of trance without all that trance”). While many of the resulting creations were quite entertaining, one of them, which happened to be produced by the now-well-known remix team LA Riots, proved itself to be a particularly floor shaking brick of synthesizer-goodness. Unfortunately, that track has all but disappeared from the internet, and for a while I worried that I’d be forever doomed to living without it. My luck did turn, however, and I figure I should repay the spirits of karma (and the delightful LA Riots) by posting it up here. Be careful… this one bites.

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MP3: Ocelot – Lo Sforzo (LA Riots remix)

Classixx – Here’s a Bit of Versatility

How nice of Classixx to have presented themselves to me so soon after our controversial discussion over JFK‘s feelings on the future of rock music. I had a few comments on that post from people who felt that electronic music is totally void of the soul that has kept rock alive for so many years, and though I do quite agree when it comes to a certain few (for the most part, I’ve never felt much of a connection with trance, or that heavy generic harcore), I think more than a few are going to agree with me when I say that Los Angeles’ very own Classixx packs enough trans-genre creativity to blow that argument to pieces entirely. The group have managed to create a totally original and attractive style (which has, not surprisingly, earned them a comfortable spot on blogs like Big Stereo and MissingToof) that somehow persists through all of their tracks despite the fact that the origins of their remixes are everything from hip hop to indie rock; A Classixx mix will give you chills whether it’s pushing you along at 130 bpm or just barely tugging on your arm at 90; I think it’s implied that, considering many of the tracks that they choose to remix are (in their original state) not the most sentimental productions, all that emotion must be coming from somewhere.

Boy, is it ever nice to be able to add such great artistry to the unsettlingly short list of Los Angeles electro producers.

Here’s a hip hop track, a rock track, and dance-pop-ish track, all nicely charmed by a certain classic (and not to mention stunning) touch.

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MP3: Shwayze – Buzzin (Classixx remix)

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MP3: Shiny Toy Guns – Starts With One (Classixx remix)

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MP3: The Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go (Classixx remix)

Sweden Always Seems to Do It Right

Having been smothered underneath the black wave of far too many Justice-fueled “producers” as of late, being allowed to perk an ear toward an artist who pulls off the heavier side of dance in a dignified and stylish fashion is a well deserved breath of fresh.

Mr. Miyagi

I’ve been hoping to toss Mr. Miyagi up for a good long while now, but until recently, I was stumped due to the fact that the Swedish music scene is not something most (including myself) have been lucky enough to experience first hand. I had no idea if they, like so many others, were following the trend that France started a few years back, or if I’d stumbled across a chunk of industry that simply happened to coincide quite nicely. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to grab an interview from the two, so you won’t be forced to settle for my nonsense. Here’s what they have to say:


1. To start, you’re called Mr. Miyagi. Is that just due to a spontaneous, Karate Kid induced whim, or does it go deeper?
On the first question our answer is A.

2. Being based in Sweden, what type of a connection would you say you have with the rest of the electronic world? Does Sweden have its own style?
The connection we have is probably the same as every other person around the world who has an internet connection. As for a swedish style, we don’t really keep track of it if there is one.

3. Which one of you is the rock musician, and which the computer geek?
We’re kind of like AC/DC, we swing both ways”

4. What got you doing what you’re doing? Is there a particular artist that you hold responsible for your being who you are today?
We blame Vitalic and Rex the Dog.

5. How did the Pick Your Poison JFK remix come about? How do you feel about it?
It started out with a request for our Rack Hunters remix which quickly led to a deep and wonderful friendship and the rest is history. We feel that we like it.

6. If you could work with any other producer for your next project, who would it be?
It’s a secret.

7. Have you taken a side in the war between analogue and digital?
Nope.

8. What direction do you see your music headed in? Is there anything you wish you could do differently?
More Africa and faster.

9. What goes into a Mr. Miyagi track? Does the idea have to come before you’ve sat down in the studio, or does sitting in the studio bring you ideas?
First we get a little seed from our ears that we plant in a pot filled with jellybeans. we then water it with hot cocoa and blood from a black rooster. after about six weeks we get a weird looking plant that kind of resembles the artist meatloaf in the “I would do anything for love” video. we each take a bite out of meatloafs ears and then head to the studio where the black magic happens.

10. Nike’s or Puma’s?
Pumas without a doubt, nikes are for insecure guys who need big manly shoes.

11. Any plans to come work your magic in the states?
We call them dreams.

12. Anything else you’d like to say that I haven’t mentioned?
Free Dawit!

I bet if we all donate a buck we can bring two bobbing heads out for a bit of a good time, but while we wait and see, you might enjoy a teaser or two:

*Certified Products of Awesometown, Sweden*

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Melomanics – Get You (Mr. Miyagi remix)

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Mr. Miyagi – Pick Your Poison (JFK remix)

DatA – This Genre Meshing is Relentless

I know I’ve done a lot of eighties revival coverage in the last couple weeks, and I hate to keep poking at a topic that’s probably long been dubbed “old news,” but I feel that this latest development has once again made a bit of commentary necessary.

DatA

By now we’re all no doubt quite familiar with the distinct post-retro style of Ekleroshock giant, Danger, and therefor it probably isn’t all too shocking that the saw-tooth electro label mate, DatA, has adopted a similar style. What is surprising, however, is the fact that the French producer has managed to summon the likes of Sebastian Grainger (former vocalist and drummer for Death From Above 1979) to take part in his latest (available as of last week) single release, “Rapture.” Upon listening, I immediately thought it rather strange that both former members of DFA79 have now officially converted from their previous distortion-happy endeavors to poppy, synthy electronic music; fortunately, I was soon after presented with the opportunity to ask JFK of MSTRKRFT (DFA79‘s other member) for his perspective on the unusual conversion:

What do you think about Sebastian Grainger‘s teaming up with Data? It seems rather unusual that both DFA79 guys would quit rock and move to electronic. But then again, I suppose the genre is pretty irresistible as of late.

JFK: “rock music in its present form is dead. pounding away at it is like going to university to study latin. like, its fine if that what you want to do but what satisfaction can a creative person derive from doing something thats already overdone?”

As sad as it is to admit, I’d be lying if I said I could deny any part of that statement. It seems that the reason electronic styles have become so popular in recent years is not because of some sudden massive public discovery of the fact that dancing is fun. Rather, (and please, if you disagree, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this one) I believe that the migration between genres is due to a yearning for new sounds. As epic and emotional as the wail of a crying guitar sounds, fifty years of repetition has proven enough to dry up the past. I see a day, not too far into the future, where the guitar that used to lay under the Christmas tree has been replaced by a stack of software and a copy of Pro-Tools.
Strange? Yes. Sad? Yes? Exciting? You betcha.

And as for the actual track that’s sparked this digression: It’s golden. As much as I hate to admit it, Grainger‘s vocals over DatA‘s vintage synth sounds and pumping compression are *grits teeth* quite possibly better than they ever were in DFA79. The original DatA track unlocks emotional tones in his voice that I had previously never noted, and on top of that, the remix gives the track a bit of an interesting indie feel. Needless to say, they’re both well worth your time.

Note: The original track has a strong reputation of being torn down pretty fast from the blogs, so I suggest you grab it while you can, and once you decide you love it, that you pick up your own copy from Fnac music.

DatA – Rapture

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DatA – Rapture (Pacific! remix)