EXHUMED: Bippp —French Synth Wave CD

posted Wednesday Nov 15th, 2006

Over the past fifty years there have only been a couple of instruments that have made any lasting effect on popular music: the electric guitar, the theremin, and the analog synthesizer. Though the synthesizer was invented in the late 19th century, long before the appearance of the electric guitar, it's impact on music has always been shadowed by it's foe, the guitar. The frame of mind of most rock'n'roll traditionalists doesn't allow for the unfamiliarity of instruments that essentially manufactures a sound rather than resonates a note that the musician skillfully chooses. As an instrument, the synthesizer has always had the unfortunate semblance of being impersonal, inhuman and even bureaucratic, but with the usually adversary approach to all good music, this paradigm is flipped on it's ear.

The recently emerged Born Bad Records released “Bippp —French Synth Wave 1979-85” this fall. The 13 song LP/CD release outlines the milieu of this voltaic sound in all its desolate and minimalistic machine-droned glory. Covering the Parisian take on the post rock'n'roll resurgence as it became eclipsed by the more marketable New Wave sound, the compilation features songs that range from bordering on ambient soundscapes that echo futuristic symmetry to slightly erratic pop songs that tick in an eerie, repetitious tone. Mostly sung in French, the entire collection transcends any language barrier and reflects the cold mechanical temper the genre is known for the world over. Though the release hasn't quite been well received by some stateside distributors, it is a solid documentation of an underrated period.

Here's a video of Deux's “Felicita,” a song not included on the comp, but illustrates the genre's minimalistic approach to electro pop.