While the winter has never been so long in Europe, brighten your day with this short yet dense mix from Daft Punk collaborator DJ Falcon. Shiny and sunny electro-disco all the way ! You can start smiling.
Bonjour folks !
For this third post, I am finally doing justice to my own country by posting a mix from a french producer and DJ, the awesome DJ Falcon.
Just about time as the Daft Punk are releasing a new album (including a track made in collaboration with Falcon), I thought it was time to talk a bit about the ‘french touch’, that so-called musical genre that emerged in France in the late 90’s. Names you’re gonna come accross include: Daft Punk (of course), Air, DJ Falcon, Dimitri From Paris, Cassius, Etienne de Crécy, Lifelike or St Germain to name but a few. Labels they released on were the likes of: Roulé (belonging to Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk), Crydamoure (belonging to Guy-Manuel de Hohem-Christo of Daft Punk), but also Versatile (run by I:Cube and Gilb’r), Pro-Zak Trax, the legendary Disques Solid, Yellow Productions (Bob Sinclar’s label) or FCommunications (on which many of Laurent Garnier first EPs were released). There you go with some names; it would be far too long to give even a brief description about everyone of those artists and labels (and I’m still forgetting a hell lot), so just go for ‘french touch’ on Google, and spend your night reading and listening to the internet. And probably the nights after.
One thing you want to know is that all these guys were and still are friends, they all know each other (and that is quite crazy when you think about it). Starting with Daft Punk; their first manager was Pedro Winter (aka Busy P), he is now the head honcho of Ed Bangers Records. They’re both friends with Phillippe Zdar who formed Motorbass with Etienne de Crecy, before forming Cassius with Boombass. De Crécy and Alex Gopher worked together on a project called ‘SuperDiscount’, and run the label ‘Solid’, on which Cosmo Vitelli released his first tracks. This same Cosmo Vitelli now runs a label called ‘I’m a cliché‘ (on which guy like Yuksek released his first tracks), but back then probably met Air in the Solid office. The guys from Air are from the city of Versailles, just like the guys from Phoenix and…Daft Punk. Falcon and Bangalter formed the band ‘Together’, and produced the tracks ‘Together’ and ‘So much Love to Give’. Bangalter, Alan Braxe (cousin of DJ Falcon) and Benjamin Diamond formed the band Stardust and the global hit that is ‘Music Sounds Better With You’. Alan Braxe went on to produce ‘Intro’ with Fred Falke on his label ‘Vulture‘. Finally I will add that when Pedro Winter stopped being Daft Punk’s manager, he was replaced by Gildas, co-founder of Kitsuné, well-established label and clothing brand today. They are absolutely all related. Crazy I told you.
But let’s focus on Falcon. In 1999, he released his first EP on Roulé, called ‘Hello my name is DJ Falcon’, which is now a classic: it is the reflection of the amazing use of samples (caracteristic of the genre), as on ‘Honeymoon’ or ‘Unplugged’. But besides that, I think it literally highlights a typical aspect of this era: it is fuelled with fun: it is warm, it is sunny; it has a bit of nostalgia in it, as most of the samples are taken from 80’s funk tracks, but it is good nostalgia. It makes you smile ! After that EP on Roulé, Falcon went on to collaborate with Thomas bangalter himself and released the utterly fantastic ‘Together‘ and ‘So Much Love To Give‘ (which I could listen to for hours). One could say that it is mainly a single sample, looped during 10 minutes: ‘I got so much love to give'; and one could be right. But it has such a powerful and optimistic feel, it is so shiny, sunny and positive that those ten minutes look like only one.
And that is what his mix for Vulture, released in June 2012, aims for: making you smile, making you dance. Here it is all about peak time electro, house and disco. Despite being pretty short (only half an hour), it is very dense, and full of amazing mash-ups and edits that keep a fast and entertaining pace. Starting with a nearly 9-minute edit of a John Morales (legend of New York disco) remix of Bumblebee Unlimited – Lady Bug, it drops into a Paper Faces remix (Paper Faces is another moniker of the great Stuart Price, that one can associate with the french touch movement), and then somehow goes into the legendary ‘I Feel Love’ by Donna Summer (produced by Giorgio Moroder of course), and after that it is a festival of mash-ups and edits. There may be 3 or 4 songs at a time, everything sounding clear together: a real piece of virtuosity. Getting back to ‘I Feel Love’, it suddenly reveals the amazing ‘Ultra Light’ by Surkin and its particular drum and piano pattern, before the hook of Destiny’s Child’s ‘Say My Name’ appears on top of it. Brilliant fun ! After this highly enjoyable first 15 minutes (only!), Falcon takes things down a bit with his great remix of Justice – New Lands (that bassline!) before he samples and loops the very beginning of Jay-Z and Rihanna’s Umbrella over probably two or three other tracks (including one with a pretty mad scratch part). The mix ends with the relaxing and quite perfect ‘Lovely Day’ from Bill Withers. Great mix to make you feel better.
Oh look, there is a big sun outside. And a big smile all over my face, thank you Mr Falcon.