January 22, 2008

VA / Bippp (French Synthwave 1979-1985)

A historian of New Wave as a genre, no less French "No Future" New Wave, I am most certainly not.

My introduction to this world of music came from Hollywood in 1983 and a little film called Valley Girl. For a good 5 or so years my whole concept of this scene involved a vision of Nicolas Cage with frosted hair and a montage of cute date footage with the teen anthem "Melt with You" by Modern English blaring behind it. I fell in love with this punk sub genre instantly but looking back I am pretty sure it was more about a crush on "Randy" from the movie, not the totally bitchen soundtrack.

I've never been a huge fan of New Wave though I certainly own a few records that fall under the category but I've never dived deep into it and dug for buried treasure AKA deep catalog rarities. To this day when I hear synthed out pop I cringe and picture one of the kagillion 80's dance nights that plague our city where some frat types are throwing back shots as they sing along to Flock of Seagulls. Its a daily event in these parts and I swallow a little vomit just thinking about it. I also blame New Wave for the birth of Electroclash which I believe as an art form should have been aborted upon its conception.

Gag me with a coke spoon.

Artist: VA / BIPPP (French Synthwave 1979-85) - samples of the music can be heard here.
Label: Everloving via Ryko
Street Date: 2/12/2008

Keeping all of the above in mind I wasn't expecting to be wooed by a French New Wave collection of 7" rarities yet not only have I played this CD more than 5 times (a miracle according my usual listening habit) but there are at least 4 songs I would be willing to shell out big bucks for if I happened to stumble across them on Ebay.

Right now my biggest problem with the comp is the lack of information I can find on it. I have a paper sleeve advanced copy of the CD so maybe the final version will have incredibly detailed liner notes but I have to ask why the hell a label who has a new release coming out in under a month would not bother to post anything about the record for people to check out on their web page! ? ! ? ! I struggled to find anything about this domestic version and all I could find were a few sites talking about the very pricey import version. Even the link to the comp I have above is to the import version of the CD, not the new one. Everloving's site has a clock counting down the days, minutes, and seconds to this release but nothing else. Maybe mystery sells records for some labels but it annoys the hell out of me. It could be that I suck at surfing the web but I couldn't find anything on this new version no less about the history of French New Wave music to share here.

So....what can I tell you about this comp? It pretty much sounds like anyone with a decent imagination could guess it might sound like.

Minimal electronic music ala synth and the occasional drum machine with mostly French vocals. Think sterile. Think robot. Think bad haircuts and Pong. I did however find it interesting as to how many variations of New Wave exist just within this sliver of its illustrious history. "Ping Pong" by Act has an Echo and the Bunnymen spirit while "Touche Pas Mon Sexe" by The Comix could easily translate into a modern day Blink 182 song if you added guitar, bass, and an over tattooed drummer. (That sounds more repulsive than it actually is) I could play the name game here for hours but other artists that popped into my mind while listening to this collection varied from Trio to The Normal and if you were making a mix tape it could snuggle up against any Adult, Stereo Total, Gary Numan, or even a Jay Reatard song. If I was wearing a backwards baseball hat and chasing my jagerbomb with a light beer I would probably think I was listening to Duran Duran on the wrong speed.

13 tracks later you too might find the genre a little goofy, stiff, and poorly aged but for some reason, in this form, it works. The tracks flow nicely from one to the next and my attention is held the entire time. I like updating my music education any chance I can get so while I can't find anything decent to read about French New Wave my ears are making up for it with every listen of the well put together track listing of Bippp.

1 comment:

  1. That Ruth song was already comped once, on So Young But So Cold (which I can copy for you if you want). Someone needs to reissue their whole album (again).