Gaspard Augé - Escapades Music Album Reviews

Gaspard Augé - Escapades Music Album Reviews
The French musician’s giddily maximalist solo debut maintains the spirit of his group Justice’s debut album; though inspired by ’70s prog and disco, it inhabits a singular universe of its own invention.

If EDM had been created in the 1970s, it might have sounded like Escapades, the debut album from Gaspard Augé, better known as one half of French electronic duo Justice. Like EDM, Escapades is utterly in thrall to scale, an album of colossal gestures; like ’70s prog, it shows warm eccentricity and extreme melodic prowess. Escapades is, by some distance, the most ridiculous electronic album released so far this year, a giddy tour de force unrestrained by common sense or conventional tastes.

In the wrong hands, this improbable stew could have been stomach-churning. But Justice, Augé’s alma mater, have a history of turning the preposterous into the potent. Justice’s innovation in the ’00s was to turn rock music’s most ludicrous ideas—vast Marshall stacks and handlebar moustaches, the children’s choir on “D.A.N.C.E”—into an unlikely breath of fresh air for a European electronic music scene still recovering from the excesses of the late ’90s. Escapades proves that Augé has learned well from the day job.

The album is less abrasive in tone than the early Justice records that defined the duo’s sound—it’s incredibly sleek, for all its volume. But it maintains the spirit of Justice’s debut album, †: unabashed and unshackled, dance music stripped of the finicky trend-watching. “Force majeure,” the second track, builds to a climax of drum rolls and meaty synth lines that could level Shea Stadium; “Rocambole,” one track later, ends with an echoing piano note that appears to reference the Beatles’ “A Day in the Life”—the kind of cheekily audacious, go-big-or-go-home pop plunder that can trigger a sharp intake of breath.

Escapades isn’t entirely stuck in a time warp. “Rocambole” takes equal influence from ’70s Elton John and producer Alan Braxe, a kind of Harold Faltermeyer for the French touch generation; “Pentacle” is reminiscent of Air’s proggy masterpiece 10,000 Hz Legend; and the ultra triumphant “Hey!” is contemporary only in so much as it references the same Giorgio Moroder records as so many current house records. On the whole, though, Escapades floats around in a singular universe of its own invention, like dance music whose only points of reference are Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” and campy magic shows.

Escapades is maximalist to its core, but this isn’t maximalism in the Rustie or Venetian Snares sense of many things happening at once. Rather, every element is primed for enormity—a sandwich packed with hefty slabs of prime rib, rather than the sensory overload of experimental modern cooking. The album’s basic sound comprises synths, drums, and comically serpentine bass. But Augé and collaborators Victor le Masne and Michael Declerck spent a long time improving the sound of Augé’s original demos, availing themselves of the technological dreamland that is the late Philippe Zdar’s Motorbass studio. Escapades sounds gorgeous throughout: big but not overbearing; tender but not cloying.

The record’s melodies are also excellent. Much like Daft Punk’s Discovery (or, to a lesser extent, Justice’s third album, Woman), Augé calls on the European baroque tradition, as re-interpreted through prog rock or ABBA. For a largely instrumental record, Escapades is packed to the hilt with sharp hooks and clever melodic tricks, like “Captain” swerving in and out of a melancholy descending chord progression, or the operatic mid-section of “Belladone,” which sounds like a disco flip of Pink Floyd’s “The Great Gig in the Sky.”

At moments like these, you may find yourself singing along to the most unlikely of elements, twanging air bass with gusto and looking completely ridiculous. But what Escapades teaches us, more than anything, is that Adam Ant was right when he said that ridicule is nothing to be scared of. Augé may be hip, the kind of artist who can inspire a generation of club kids to sweat their brains out in ill-fitting leather jackets. But like all true style mavens, he knows that real panache exists at the opposite extreme from accepted notions of cool. Escapades is entirely in line with this gleeful approach, guilelessly reaching beyond musical norms to seek out ecstasy in the patently absurd.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Gaspard Augé - Escapades Music Album Reviews Gaspard Augé - Escapades Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 02, 2021 Rating: 5


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