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Montreal’s XAVIER PARADIS may have the French connection, but is actually a forerunner in the distinctly North American movement of minimal synth that has been seething below the surface since the 1990’s. Paradis made music under the moniker ARNAUD LAZLAUD for a decade, and now his debut release as Automelodi presents us with an understated bouquet of spare, synthetic delicacies. The Fait ses Courses EP exudes a romantique moodiness akin to that of French cult classics from the 1980’s such as Martin Dupont, Asylum Party, and Opera Multi Steel, and also carries a certain spark reminiscent of Visage or even early Italo Disco. Against the pulsing electronic canvas of Paradis’ creation, guitars tremble and sway while his understated emotive vocals hover, sometimes in a whisper, over the dancefloor-ready sounds. The caress of the mellifluous French lyrics do not hinder but enhance the emotional vulnerability of this record, as there are multiple means of translation available through our faculties. Fait ses Courses may be poised to transform listeners into lovers not only of Automelodi’s music, but also of the French underground minimal synth and coldwave from years past that has finally been getting the attention it deserves. As language barriers cease to be a reason to ignore an excellent album, bands like Automelodi and its predecessors can finally be heard in the US.
This Wednesday will prove to be very rare indeed, as it marks Automelodi’s American debut at Wierd, the eye of NYC’s coldwave and minimal synth storm. The party’s record label, Wierd Records, is also home to many others of the same scene, particularly SEAN MCBRIDE’s project MARTIAL CANTEREL, another leader of the North American minimal synth movement with activity dating back to 2001. While other club nights promoting certain genres of ‘dark’ music tend towards trashy excess and ironic posturing, Wierd is about restrained intellectualism and an inner abyssal melancholy that need not be expressed in an extravagant outward manifestation. (Ask founder PIETER SCHOOLWERTH if you require more of this manifesto.) Philosophy aside, this is French minimal wave at its best. Following Wednesday’s performance at Home Sweet Home, Automelodi will also share the stage with McBride’s other group, XENO AND OAKLANDER, at an early show Saturday at The Annex. Come into the dark and experience a cold new world.
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