Electronicat - Chez Toi
Rock meets noise, electronics, drone and industrial music and creates "Chez Toi", Fred Bigot aka Electronicat's seventh long player in total, previously released on Munich's label Disko B and now released on LP vinyl.
This album transcends all the previous flirtations with electro and presents Bigot's mature vision of pop, rock and noise, mixed with a healthy dose of risk-taker's attitude. Here we find him returning to his native roots, the majority of songs with French vocals and a spontaneous, raw production technique that relates to his live shows, energetic and unpredictable.
The first track, "Duvent", breathes and exhales with laborious and exhilarating tension, like massive pistons gearing up an enormous machine, before the signature Electronicat bass kicks in combined with a dark and lunging vocal creating what at first seems like an off-kilter rhythm driving its incessant mantra into our subconscious.
By the time "Chez Toi" starts we are already aware of Bigot's desire to enwrap us in his swaying mix of powerful and fragile emotions. Chez Toi is the ultimate indie pop song, influenced by the French "Yéyé" scene such as Ronnie Bird - a catchy beat, riff and chorus but too rough for FM, too unhinged for the teen disco.
"Seveneves" exhibits Bigot's ongoing fascination with palindromes and loops, not only in its title but also throughout the track. A washed-out, haunting guitar sound accompanies an industrious rhythm over which Masumi Kobayashi repeatedly counts from 1 to 7 in two different types of Japanese whilst we are sent off to charter a rhythmic territory that, though repetitive in form, constantly buckles and changes due to its uneven time signature.
After the reeling and exotic Seveneves comes "Nu Day", almost two songs in one, the first half with Bigot singing and second half turning into a hybrid hip-hop/rock song with Miss le Bomb and G.Rizo at the helm. We are told some mysterious tale of dreams, animals, loneliness and mountains where "milk [comes] from trees and wine from rocks". Switch back to the humorous tendencies displayed in all previous Electronicat records and you might be able to fathom that.
We are plunged back into pop and rock again with "Je pleure, j'ai peur" which explores the strategies Bigot has employed in Chez Toi to create a good old-fashioned love song with a modern, raw and determined edge.
"Pancake Lady", obviously a reference to Throbbing Gristle, starts off with bongos, guitars, all kinds of percussions to create a pulsing techno song, again Bigot's playful side getting the better of him but also displaying a real fearlessness for experimentation and pushing the boundaries within electronic music.
"The Delphins" acts as a short, slightly twisted environmental statement before we come to "Angers", a gem on this album and a methodical and courageous piece of rock music. Its initial minimalism and delicate vocals are "just enough" and Bigot expertly keeps things tight without overloading things. The breakout is the guitar riff, precise and sharp and, again, just enough to do the job. Great things can be said in very few words and Angers proves this point.
"Lost Gigabyte", another excursion with Miss le Bomb, is witty, brash and desperate, full of warped metaphors a la Roland Topor, both in the lyrics and music. References to modern technology can be a hazardous thing but Lost Gigabyte turns out to be a song not about computers but about discovering something or someone you love and the constant and damning curiosity of "what's on the other person's mind".
The final track, "In Limbo" is a characteristic Electronicat track, a haunting, slow, synth-filled melody, dreamy and remote...Reminiscent of Twin Peaks, shadows, lost love, undiscovered things, Electronicat's latest album Chez Toi comes to an end. The only thing left to do now is put the needle on the groove and enjoy it all over again ...