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Posts Tagged ‘french touch’

Super Discount 3

Étienne de Crécy’s first Super Discount album – initially released as a series of EPs in 1996, then rounded up for album release  – was not just one of the very best of the French Touch albums to see the light of day, it was one of the Frenchest.

From the laid-back, almost loungey feel, to the grace and beauty of the production, which touched on disco, house and dub, to the way the music always seemed to take exactly how long it needed to make its point, be it 10 minutes (opener, Le Patron est Devenu Fou!), or nine seconds (Tout à 10 Balles), Super Discount radiated effortless Gallic élan.  It was house music, by and large, but took a magpie approach to its source material, sampling everything from jazzy piano, to dub bass lines to flamenco castanets, in a way that The Avalanches would later emulate.

So cool was Super Discount, in fact, that it didn’t seem to even be bothered who it was by. De Crécy was the ringleader, certainly, and two tracks are credited to him alone, but otherwhere there are tracks from Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville) and Mooloodjee (De Crécy pseudonyms); La Chatte Rouge (De Crécy and Philippe Zdar, then of Cassius, who had previously worked with De Crécy as Motorbass); Air (remixed by De Crécy); Alex Gopher; Mr. Learn (Laurent Collobert) and the enigmatic DJ Tall. In many of these tracks, Crécy may or may not have had a hand. But it somehow didn’t matter.

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FrenchTouchFG_VisuelBD

As Britain in the 90s frothed over Britpop, on the other side of the Channel the French were having their own patriotic music awakening, thanks to the French Touch, a one-size-fits-all term applied to the disco-led house music that filtered its way out of Paris in the mid to late 90s.

At the time, it seemed the two could hardly be more different: Britpop was a brand of Kinks-ian guitar music designed for lagery indie discos, while the French Touch combined smooth house beats, disco bass lines, French chic and sophisticated night clubs. It’s only now, looking back from 20 years on that I can see how much they have in common.

Patriotism and awakening

Britpop was seen as solidly British pop, long marginalised from its 60s boom, patriotically returning to claim its rightful chart crown.

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