Various Artists - Etienne De Crecy pres. Super Discount 2
Mon 20th Sep, 2004 Music Reviewsin
The French house wave that hit the world in the late 90’s caused quite a stir, Daft Punk, Cassuius, Air et al putting the filtered out vocal and synth styling on the map and making overnight stars of the former, with songs like “One More Time” and “Around The World” and those crazy anime video clips winning over early Saturday morning viewers and industry pundits alike.
The original Super Discount was the staple artefact of the time, its bright yellow exterior holding a CD of warm fuzzy house that was anything but discount. Etienne has bought Alex Gopher back whilst one half of Cassius and former Motorbass accomplice Philip Zdar joins a production team that has delivered a delightfully fresh, original synthed out, spaced out yet intelligently down to Earth album that rarely misses a beat.
Opener “Poisoned” is an ode to the French house of old, with that trademark quirkiness and washed out/incomprehensible vocal style (I think it’s “push push!”) giving way to a more electro sentiment which runs throughout the entire disc, elevating this far above “rehash” properties. Philip Zdar’s influence is strongly felt on “Fast Track”, the new-wave drumbeat and juicy bass line are elements integral to local new-rockers Cut Copy’s debut effort “Bright Like Neon Love”, an album that Zdar tinkered with substantially in post production.
The tougher electro sound is ever present throughout the disc, “Grokster” hangs on to that oh so funky bass line structure and delivers electro number in a very “Chicken Lips does Paris” experiment. “Morpheus” is everything you loved about 80’s new romanticism in a modern context without the annoying singers, brilliant! That guitar, the throbbing bass, the handclaps!
“Bit Torrent” and “Soul Seek” have Cassius written all over them, down to the closing psychotic synth breakdown in the former whilst “Gifted” is a beautiful semi-instrumental fusion of acoustic guitar and lazy-beat bliss that somehow balances counterbalances the freaked out romp of “Audio Galaxy”, a monster of a track and perhaps a little abstract for mid-set duties.
The back end of the CD highlight the Germanic influences at play in Etienne’s new direction, to quote the man himself from an excellent Tim Fisher article last week
“many good records from Germany have influenced my sound, like Tiefshchwarz. Their sound is really powerful but never dark”
This is very true of the CD as a whole, the material is very strong the whole way through and whilst exploring darker territory on tracks like “Limewire” and epic album closer “Overnet”, there’s always a funked up playfulness present. You can almost imagine Etienne’s ironic French grin on these tracks, it’s evident that he and his collaborators had a lot of fun making this; and its fun to listen to.
“Super Discount 2” is an incredibly consistent, near on faultless display from one of the world’s most underrated producers. Forget Daft Punk and Air, this is the French sound of the future and I’ve got a funny feeling we’ll be hearing more from this man in the future. Who said house was dead?