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Review: Kitsuné Compilation ‘Parisien’

To continue our week  dedicated to the wonderful French record label Kitsuné here at Planet Notion, we’ve reviewed their new themed album ’Parisien’.  The release of the record ties in with the Kitsuné’s sister fashion label’s new clothing line of the same name.  The label’s most recent release, which showcases the up and coming dance music of France, is the brain child of street artist André Saraiva and Kitsuné’s head honcho Gildas Loaëc.

Listening through this LP, you’re bound to find all sorts of electro, from Foals-esque math rock guitar riffs in the form of Valley’s ‘1999’ (not dissimilar to label mates Two Door Cinema Club), to ‘80s cheesy synth pop with the track ‘Désorbitée’ by Exotica (formed by Clara, who I like to think of France’s answer to Kylie, and her musical counterpart Julien).

In particular, highlights come from Birkii, Jupiter, Beataucue, and Cascadeur.  The former, a young Parisian violinist, has been studying at the conservatoire of music since she was five years old. She started to experiment with her talent after being given an old synthesizer from her flat mate and, amongst others, crafted the beat-driven electro ditty ‘Shade of Doubt’.

Birkii is closely followed by ‘Saké’, a dance floor filler from a musical and real-life couple who, with this track, may well be attempting to recreate the first time they met dancing to an apparently ‘slightly too retro’ song on a deserted dance floor.  The root of their relationship is plain to see as the pair’s music has a slight ‘80s squeaky pop feel to it.  The result is pure feel-good party music; the female half of the duo chants “’Til we surrender/ Life right now is okay/ No need for water/ Drink!  Drink some more saké!” Might just do that.

Beataucue’s ‘Behold’ is an epic track of filthy synthsized sounds, which is just what dance music should be, in my opinion.  I find that this genre can, half the time, have a repetitive, sometimes severely annoying monotony that is solely enjoyed by people who are hardly conscious on a badly lit, sticky, debauched dance floor.  On the other side of the dance coin are compositions with not only a drive, but with a story, full of movement from brash beats to fragile instrumental flourishes, and this is definitely the categorisation under which Beataucue’s featured track would be placed.  Although ‘Behold’ is mainly the latter it is also thoroughly enjoyable to listen to if you are are inclined, from time to time, to regress your ass down to an inebriated barely-there barfly.

‘Meaning’ is the closing track of Parisien.  Cascadeur almost preaches the listener in exaltation: “I’m a speaker/ Of the silence,/ I’m the question now/ To your answer”.  It’s plain to see why label boss/DJ Gildas Louac chose this as the ultimate song to his compilation; ‘Meaning’ is clearly the rabouilleuse to its preceding compilation cousins.  This anonymous chanteur who, word has it, adopts a tendency to roam the streets with-mask, has been playing piano since the age of nine.  Utterly absorbing exquisite broken chords paired with Cascadeur’s subtle, pearlescent singing voice will make it impossible for you to give this final piece of the compilation a second, third, fourth, fifth listen.  Sublime.

Brimming with talented, young new musicians, Kitsuné’s ‘Parisien’ is the guide to upcoming francophone electronic; full of Franco-flare, it makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

-Bronya Louise Francis

To celebrate the release of Kitsuné Parisien, Jerry Bouthier has made a Parisien minimix, which you can listen to and download here

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