Koudlam: we finish the electro well

With his captivating fourth album, the French producer like no other promises an apocalyptic live at Trabendo, as usual.

“Basically, I wanted to make a record that bridges Benidorm Dream, my last album released eight years ago. I dreamed of an ambient album, even if I don’t really know what the name covers, and music driven by the idea of ​​meditation and travel“explains Gwenael Navarro, alias Koudlam, who stacks the concepts like no one when asked about his long absence.

“I was obsessed with stories and mythologies around mountaineering. Those of the mountain conquistadors in the 18th century and their incredible stories, at a time when simply arriving at the foot of the mountain was already a journey in itself. The romantic, and often tragic, side of these expeditions fascinated me. The idea was therefore to start from this universe and compose a slightly hallucinated soundtrack. I started to compose rather contemplative tracks without beats and then, little by little, other demos were grafted closer to the universe for which I am known. For more consistency, I decided to divide the whole thing into two albums: Precipice Fantasy Part.1 what I call my pop record and a second part, which will be released early next year, more instrumental and contemplative, like perverted ambient.“

Organized brothel

Rest assured, Koudlam has not given in to his habit of throwing his sonic tornadoes at us in the face, just as he has not fallen for bikram yoga or sun salutations. And Precipice Fantasy, his fourth album, is no exception to the rule with its organized mess, between tension and appeasement, exploding beats, crumpled synth pads and hallucinatory vocals. Like a kind of schuss descent into the mad brutality of electronic music. An album with airs of apocalypse which deconstructs electro for more pop, while offering rock or eurodance twists.

Twelve titles which slalom, with the same festive desperation, new wave like Depeche Mode under amphetasters of MyChurch on the dry and anxiety-provoking guitar of riverfrom synthpop elegy coated with nods to the Daft Punk of Precipice Fantasy to the Elvis Presley ballad under LSD Cats & Dogsapocalypo-gothic Waterfall Views at A new start which closes the album in a vaporous and new age slow. A frozen and psychedelic tribute to Éric Serra and the soundtrack of Big Blueof which Koudlam is a big fan and which seems to be eyeing this famous horizontal and amniotic sequel that the producer promises us for next February.

Symbiotic collaboration

Everything happened very quickly for Koudlam who, from the mid-2000s, when he had just left nowhere, his first self-produced LP, has found his evil double in contemporary French artist Cyprien Gaillard. A visual artist subjugated by the destruction of civilizations, contemporary ruins and collapse as the symbol of a post-modernism that is crumbling in the archeology of the present.

“I had just finished nowhere, which I played to friends. Cyprien came across it, had some sort of revelation and contacted me. What was good: the first time I found myself in front of one of his works, I thought that I had finally found someone who was more talented than me in image and I began to dream of working with him.” Very quickly, the collaboration between Gaillard and Koudlam turns out to be symbiotic, as if their work and their respective obsessions fit together like pieces of a puzzle under construction.

Crazy and awesome years

Desniansky Raion, a fascinating video of Gaillard between hooligan fights and collapsing buildings, fireworks and holes in the sky, illuminated like never before by See You All, Koudlam’s tense refrain, sets fire to the powder of contemporary art. A handful of years followed, during which the darling of art critics and Koudlam toured the world, alternating between fairs and galleries, performances and after parties, petit fours and provocations, multiplying concerts in the most unusual places.

We saw Koudlam sing, perched on an elevator with his only laptop, in the middle of a vacant lot in Berlin while Gaillard’s videos were projected on a bar of buildings. But also at the top of a skyscraper in Miami, lost in the smoke of the island of Vassivière in the Limousin, in the middle of the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan, at the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London, a little way of an underground Jean-Michel Jarre, to which Koudlam often refers. “Those were crazy, awesome yearsremembers the musician without nostalgia, they were, as Cyprien says, ‘a kind of little courtyard where we could take shelter and present our works’.”

Precipice Fantasy Part. 1 (Pan European Recordings/Bigwax). Released since October 28. Concert on December 1 in Paris (Trabendo).


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