Wednesday 25 March 2015

Review: Various Artists – 'Pistes Noires* (de préférence)'

'Pistes Noires* (de préférence)'

The third compilation release from French label Boredom Products, 'Pistes Noires* (de préférence)' is an electropop tribute to the French pop singer Etienne Daho, and sees seventeen bands taking on his expansive back catalogue from his most recent single 'En Surface' all the way back to his 1981 début 'Mythomane'. Daho may no be an international name, and is best known in Britain for his appearance on the Saint Etienne single 'He's On The Phone'. But in his native France he has enjoyed a long and successful career as both a performer and producer and has collaborated with the likes of William Orbit, Fischerspooner, and Marianne Faithful among others.

Appearing on the album are such names as Tourdeforce, Cyborgdrive, Electrosexual, Destillat, Auto-Immune, and Celluloide who each bring different elements of synthpop, ebm, electroclash, futurepop and new wave elements to the already diverse range of Daho's work. Despite the differing styles, and tackling a varied collection of tracks the compilation maintains a fairly unified sound that works as a traditional album.

It's one of those rare tributes that even if you don't know the originals, the sheer quality of the contributions from the artists render that unimportant. Instead you can look at it as a strong collection of underground electro bands who deserve winder attention. The likes of Tourdeforce's 'En Surface', Cyborgdrive's 'San Antonio De La Luna', Phllox & Blue Belle Nonne's 'Le Premier Jour', Electrosexual's 'L'enfer Enfin', 360°'s 'Des Heures Hindoues', Destillat's '4000 Années D'horreur', Auto-Immune's 'Paris Le Flor', This Grey City's 'Epaule Tattoo', Celluloide's 'Le Grand Sommeil', and Polynomiq's 'Mythomane' are all great tracks and would easily be a centrepiece on their own albums.

The compilation is mixed and mastered well which helps to create the previously mentioned unified sound and gives it more of an album feel as opposed to a collection of songs. Each artist brings their best to the songs and it reflects well on the label for the time and effort that has obviously been put into every aspect of this release, even the packaging is great.

The subject of this compilation might not be well known to many outside of the French speaking world, but as a representation of the French electropop scene it is a great advertisement for a number of bands. 'Pistes Noires* (de préférence)' is a strong album, let alone a compilation and will surely open quite a few people's eyes.

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