Last week, French record label Institubes closed shop, citing various death-of-the-industry platitudes. The difficultly of keeping a truly independent label afloat notwithstanding, Institubes demise may have more to do with the music associated with it.
Electro house, especially the type pioneered by Institubes and its countrymen at Ed Banger and Kitsune, is heading for the exits. Sure, the sound of the aughts can still pack a room at Hard Fest or the local warehouse party, but innovation in the genre has stilted as producers have moved on to new things.
So while a distinctly French sound is dying, the future for French electronic music has never been brighter. A trio of preternaturally gifted producers is ready to takeover electronic music in the name of France (again).
Mikix The Cat (Mike Gnacadja) is the Parisian representative of Trouble and Bass. True to the rest of the label, he produces seamy house music with loads of bass and synths that bubble and burst. Mikix has an ear for vocal samples that give his tracks a sensuality energy. Neither the sample or (NSFW) video for his Nightshifters single “At Night” leaves much to the imagination – an enviable, no-bullshit approach.
Last fall’s Girls Keep on Wondering finds the 21-year-old as focused as ever. A percussive energy permeates through the throwback-house flavored tracks. His electric energy doesn’t stop when he’s in the club, either: the former b-boy is unafraid to join the fray and pull off a headspin or two.
The boyish Canblaster delivered a jaw-dropping, if too short, set at the last Trouble & Bass DC night. Between a residency at Club Cheval and two EPs, Canblaster (aka Cédric Steffens) is quickly making a name for himself. His fast-paced tracks have a totally different energy than those of Mikix, but they are no less massive. His Jetpack EP kicks off with the ravey title track, a bit of harmless fun when compared to “Thunderdome got Crunk,” with its breakbeats and screwed rap samples, and “Dawgs in da House,” with it’s high-on-speed 305 bass.
His time-obsessed Master of Complication EP finds him introducing elements from tropical bass and footwork to his already impressive repertoire. “Triple Ring” will keep audiences moving while trying to sing-along with its “what does she have that I don’t?” lyric; the half-time breakdown is serene.
The producer known only as French Fries was a resident at La Favela Chic at the tender age of 14. His inventive, up-beat approach to tropical bass puts his tempos more in-line with his French peers than, say, a moombahton producer. But make no mistake: like moombahton, his tracks move booties. His “Senta” was a hit at last year’s Winter Music Conference; it’s as simple as it is infectious.
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/senta.mp3″ text=”French Fries – Senta” dl=0]
As Ultra week kicks off, “Laquisha” is poised to take the place of “Senta” in DJ sets all over Miami. The track adds dancehall toasting to the mix, making this track feel at home in a Major Lazer set. And if you don’t catch him in Miami, French Fries plays No Rule in Baltimore next Monday.
Yes, electro house is dead (though like Sixth Sense, it might take some time for that to sink in). The message from Institubes, however, should have been: “après nous, le déluge.” For electronic music, the French deluge has just begun.