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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Uber-produced Indie Pop: One of the tops of 2010


Perfect Anti-luddite Synth Pop for the Supersonic Jet Set

Le Concorde denotes first of all the historic Franco-British supersonic commercial wonder jet, which made flights from Europe to North America and the eastern U.S. in half the time of other airliners. It pioneered several technologies, set speed records for commercial jets, and won design contests. It was retired after 27 years of service in 2003, its marvelous qualities nearly forgotten today. Like the wonder jet, Le Concorde’s music celebrates the high production values of past Euro synth pop, largely forgotten today, ironically, with the MGMT and Midnight Juggernauts generation’s musical amnesia.


At first glance, Le Concorde’s latest effort, House might strike some listeners as pandering ear candy. However, when you dig below the surface of this remarkable album, rife with ‘80s synth pop winks and proud influences, and put it in the context of the artist’s ongoing critical musical project, you find the opposite: an important reflection on, critique of, and response to the cyclical, delusional or just dishonest indie enamoring of authenticity, simplicity, and supposed non-production. What is worse, for Le Concorde, indie disdain for “production” and “mediation” results in a superiority complex about an “authenticity” that never existed in the first place. Hip-hop and electro music genres have playfully and creatively embraced production, but in wide swathes of indie rock-pop, “over-produced” has been a refrain to identify commercial rock-pop and insist on its (superior) difference from it. Singer-songwriter Stephen Becker’s musical output engages this indie rock false consciousness, what one of Becker’s influences, Green Gartside, has called “the battle against unreconstructed rock music”.

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Formerly "Parisnormale: Paris Rocks"