Gaspard Augé: Escapades album review
If EDM had been created in the 1970s, it might have looked like Getaways, the debut album by Gaspard AugÃ©, better known as half of the French electronic duo Justice. Like EDM, Getaways is totally under the influence of the ladder, an album of colossal gestures; like the 70s prog, it shows warm eccentricity and extreme melodic prowess. Getaways is by far the most ridiculous electronic album released so far this year, a dizzying tour de force unrestrained by common sense or conventional tastes.
In the wrong hands, this unlikely stew could have turned your stomach. But Justice, AugÃ©’s alma mater, has a habit of transforming the absurd into the powerful. Justice’s innovation in the 2000s was to turn rock music’s most ridiculous ideas – expansive Marshall stacks and handlebar mustaches, the children’s choir on “DANCE” – into an improbable breath of fresh air. for a European electronic music scene still recovering from the excesses of the late 90s. Getaways proves that AugÃ© learned well from his day job.
The album has a less abrasive tone than the early Justice records that defined the duo’s sound – it’s incredibly elegant, despite all its volume. But it maintains the spirit of Justice’s debut album, â : a shameless and unfettered dance music stripped of the observation of capricious tendencies. “Force Majeure,” the second track, reaches a climax of drum rolls and meaty synth lines that could level Shea Stadium; “Rocambole,” a track later, ends with an echoing piano note that seems to refer to The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” – the kind of daring, go-big-or-go-home pop looting that can trigger a strong inspiration.
Getaways is not entirely stuck in a time chain. “Rocambole” draws the same influence from Elton John of the 70s and producer Alan Braxe, a sort of Harold Faltermeyer for the French touch generation; “Pentacle” recalls Air’s progressive masterpiece Legend 10,000 Hz; and the ultra triumphant âHey! is contemporary only in so far as it refers to the same Giorgio Moroder’s records as so many current house records. Overall, however, Getaways floats in a singular universe of its own invention, like a dance music whose only points of reference are âLive and Let Dieâ by Paul and Linda McCartney and the campy magic shows.
Getaways is maximalist in essence, but it’s not maximalism in Rustie’s or Venetian Snares sense of a lot of things happening at once. Rather, every item is prepared for enormity – a sandwich wrapped with chunky slices of prime rib, rather than the sensory overload of modern experimental cooking. The album’s basic sound includes synths, drums, and comically serpentine bass. But AugÃ© and his collaborators Victor le Masne and Michael Declerck spent a long time improving the sound of AugÃ©’s original demos, taking advantage of the technological dreamland of the late Philippe Zdar’s Motorbass studio. Getaways sounds wonderful everywhere: big but not overbearing; tender but not cloying.
The melodies on the record are also excellent. Just like Daft Punk Discovery (or, to a lesser extent, Justice’s third album, Women), AugÃ© uses the European baroque tradition, reinterpreted through progressive rock or ABBA. For a largely instrumental record, Getaways packed full of sharp hooks and clever melodic tricks, like “Captain” which comes in and out of a melancholic descending chord progression, or the opera midsection of “Belladonna”, which sounds like a disco flip of ” The by Pink Floyd “Superb concert in the sky.”
At times like these, you may find yourself singing along to the most unlikely elements, rocking the overhead bass with gusto, and looking downright silly. But what Getaways teaches us, more than anything, that Adam Ant was right when he said that there is nothing to fear in the face of ridicule. AugÃ© may be hip, the kind of artist who can inspire a generation of club kids to blow their brains out in ill-fitting leather jackets. But like all true style mavens he knows that real panache exists at the opposite extreme of accepted notions of cool. Getaways is entirely in line with this joyful approach, naively going beyond musical standards to seek ecstasy in manifest absurdity.
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