Active Suspension and Clapping Music are two of the more cutting-edge record labels putting out music from France right now (along with Gooom). This collection of music, which spans 2CDs and well over an hour and a half of music, not only gives a great overview of two highly eclectic labels, but serves as an introduction to some music that would otherwise be very difficult to track down by itself. With genres as varied as electronic-infused folk to experimental hip-hop, chances are that most people will find something they enjoy over the course of the releases.
A quick scan of the first half of disc one gives you an idea of just how many different styles of music that you'll hear. Davide Balula and Domotic open the disc with "Pur Glace," a track that starts out with subtle, glitched-out vocals but moves onto a sort of pastoral indie-electronic track while Shinsei follows that up with "Store Bonheur, Nue," a fluttering piece of soft electronic music that recalls the gentler side of Nobukazu Takemura or the organic electronics of Mileece. From there, it's on to Hypo Vs Emmanuelle De Hericourt with "Edh Hit," a stuttering piece of downtempo electronic pop weirdness.
If that weren't enough, Yann Encre Vs Sonia follow up with an instrumental track of acoustic guitar and cello while "Aerienne Des Reves Infinis" by Noak Katoi sounds like a track off the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack via Stars Of The Lid. Disc 2 continues the trend of going every which way with the chunky future hip-hop of "Pas D'Armure" by TTC featuring Dose One And Hi Tekk Le Receleur and the fuzzed-out deconstructed french lounge of "Instrumental" by Hypo.
Along with the above tracks, there are some other truly outstanding ones on the release, including the warm glitch folk of Dadide Balula's "Pour Une Flaque," the soothing looped beauty of Colleen's "Good Morning Sunshine," and the stunning experimental vocal drone trip-out of "Barcelona, Something In Mind" by My Jazzy Child. With artists like M83 and Cyann and Ben making a new name for French music in the past year, there's no doubt there will be more people interested in the country as a curator of new and interesting music that bridges gaps between genres and styles. If this 2CD release is any indication, there's no doubt we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg (or perhaps at least a very large croissant) in terms of great music from the country.