Darkdancer - Rythmes Digitales (Les)

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Darkdancer - Rythmes Digitales (Les)

1 CD(s) - Electronica - Label: Wall of Sound - Distributor: PIAS UK/Arvato Services, PIAS UK/Sony DADC - Released: 24/05/1999 - 5028589007420, 5028589...

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Review of "Darkdancer - Rythmes Digitales (Les)"

published 04/06/2005 | x_helix_x
Member since : 29/10/2004
Reviews : 49
Members who trust : 26
About me :
Pro amazing album, made well before it's time
Cons none
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
Cover / Inlay Design and Content
Value for Money

"Jacques Your Body"

Album Cover

Album Cover

Hear the name Les Rythmes Digitales and you will probably think it's some obscure french band. Les Rythmes Digitales are a band but they are not French..far from it.

The mastermind behind the band is DJ ace and master remixer and producer Jacques Lu Cont aka Stuart Price who was brought up in England. Having parents who were classically trained pianists didn't stop the young Stuart Price from following his electronic dream. Born in the late 1970s in Paris when his parents were on a trip to the city (this is his french connection!). He had a passion for music and accquired his first synthesiser at the tender age of 11. Next he got himself a set of keyboards and set about making himself a homestudio, no mean feat for a teenager. Price started to record his own songs and these demos ended up on desks of record bosses at the label Wall Of Sound. The label instantly seen the potential of the young 18 year old and promptly snapped him up. The now self proclaimed Jacques Lu Cont named his influences as The Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk; it seemed destined that he would end up making electro tunes.

His first venture into a band was with his best friends Johnny and Adam Blake. The band produced some good electro house tunes but it was soon put on hold. As he decided to go it alone and record under the name Les Rythmes Digitales. In the studio Jacques Lu Cont is the man behind the music, creating the beats, finding the samples and getting the guests in to lay down the vocals. The first Les Rythmes Digitales single "Kontakte" was released in 1996 and it had a distinct electro vibe to it. In 1996 Jacques Lu Cont also released the first album "Liberation" which drew on influences from house, disco and Jacques describes it as a more "techno" album. At the time he didn't feel ready or able to put his love of pop into his work. But it wasn't until the release of this album "DarkDancer" that he began to get some credit for his work under Les Rythmes Digitales. Unleashed in 1999 when there was somewhat of an electro revival going on in the dance music scene it went down a storm. The DJs loved his sense of fun and magazines like Vogue couldn't get enough of it either. After all to them electro and electroclash was so "now!"

As a live act they are notoriously good. Jo Reynolds plays the bass and keyboards and Jim Carmichael bangs out the beats on the drums. Jacques Lu Cont knows that being good live is of great importance if he is to build a reputation. So live, they put on amazing visuals, carefully planned lighting, outfits and even covers of old classics.

For me this album is a classic, even if Jacques Lu Cont has neglected Les Rythmes Digitales to concentrate on his DJ career, and let me tell you why.....

The irresitably funky "Dreamin" gets the album underway. The funky 80s vibe flows throughout the song. A funky, yet jumpy sounding synth is the main focus on this track, complimented by minimal beats added with a hint of bass and Dreamin conjures up images of the discos and nightclubs in Miami Vice. This song sets the groove for the album, with a looped vocal that states "Don't just sit there dreamin'....dance!!". The vocal has been distorted slightly using a vocoder for a more robotic sound and echos added to emphasize "rock your body". The next track is dominated by the looped vocal sample. "Music Makes You Loose Control." The sample vocal of the line "music makes you loose control" sounds like and old hiphop sample from the song "Body Work" by Hot Streak. More recently the sample has made a reappearance in the latest Missy Elliot song featuring FatMan Scoop and Ciara. The music in this track never looses control, the guitars are sleek and sophisticated with their funky yet smooth riffs. A simple 4x4 house beat compliments the track, smooth yet funky is idea behind this one.

A change in direction for "Soft Machine" with a more disjointed, messed up track. The beats are more uneven, with plenty of hi-hat thrown in, the gritty harsh synth compliments the rock slurrs of Thomas Ribiero. His vocals aren't messed about with like the previous tracks. He belts his lines out with emotion and determination. Jacques Lu Cont hits the mark on production by adding little touches like the samples of strings and layering the vocals of Ribiero. It's a strange track but after a while it evolves into a dark, gritty track you will want to hear again and again. "Hypnotise" gets under way with another sampled vocal this time from a piece speech rather than singing. The electro beat soon joins in with a distorted electronic voice repeating "Hypnotise" performed by Jacques Lu Cont himself . In this track he harnesses a real sleazy disco feel from the infectious, relentless beat and rough samples. A futuristic feel circa 1980 also comes into play with smooth synths. A sleazy disco what more could you want?

The disco, funky, 80s feel continues into the next track. "[Hey You] What's that sound?" has been sampled from a track by Stephen Stills. The vocals are punchy and have a hiphop style to them. The beats are smooth with added tribal bongos. The guitars are quite unassuming and quiet in the background. It's the high pitched samples made by a synth I can only assume. This tune is like something people would breakdance to in the 80s on street corners with their big ghettoblaster blurring out some electro breakdance song. "Ahh yes, ain't that fresh and everybody wants to get down like that!" seems to sum up the whole song. "Take A Little Time" marks the return of 80s singer Shannon; whose 1983 single "Let The Music Play" was a massive hit on the dancefloors. So in this song she stamps her mark all over it with her smooth, upbeat vocals. The music has been tailor made to suit her voice, the beat is minimal with the occassional double time beat. The synth adds a subtle yet funky melody. This song flows along as a really dancefloor friendly track.

Still played in many clubs today "From Disco to Disco" by Whirlpool Productions is given the Jacques Lu Cont treatment. The vocals are looped, distorted but gritty and get under your skin. The beat is rather simple yet funky house. Samples are added all over the place, electronic samples, synths and acid noises all build and build to form this fantastic track. Gritty and highly danceable this is Les Rythmes Digitales showing that they are simply no novelty 80s style dance act. The funkiness continues onto the slightly deeper "Brothers". The chunky bassline toughens the track and paired with the infectious distorted, repeated vocal sample that sounds like a skipping cd, it just sounds fantastic. It pumps along at a good pace, a great house tune from start to finish.

I can guarantee that everyone has heard a Les Rythmes Digitales song. And it is this one. "Jacques, Move Your Body [Make Me Sweat" is currently doing that rounds on a car advert. The one with the car that dances, it's like an old transformer toy, well the song it dances to is this very one. At the moment it is due for a re-release sometime in the summer and even Jo Whiley on Radio 1 is championning it. What can be said about this track? Well it's just so funky, it even makes that car want to dance! But seriously in a musical sense it's perfection. The track gets underway with the funky bass and the simple drums, occassional scratches of record and then eventually the vocals burst in. Distorted, mashed up, looped and cut beyond recognition they make track so instantly recognisable. But it's the almost acid or very distorted synth that provides the funky melody. The track has great breakdowns where everything stops and gradually builds up again layer at a time. It's an acid disco classic that will forever remain one of my favourite tunes.

"About Funk" is slightly more down tempo. Not as disco as the previous offerings it is much more electro based. This is the true Les Rythmes Digitales sound. A slow beat in a breakbeat style makes this quite laid back but still sophisticated funk. The vocals are cut up and patchy but layered with chants of "funk" they seem punchy and fresh almost tribal. The synth is more deeper sounding and dark, but high pitched twinges of electro sample make the track shine bright. It's another track that sounds futuristic. At over five minutes it can be rather drawn out thing and my only criticism is that the song shows little progression and development. I'm just wanting Jacques to break free at some stage and add some more of that twisted acid disco he does so well.

Now this is more like it, but it's not the disco I wanted. It's more of a piano driven, electro tune. "Sometimes" is a fabulous track. The vocals are belted out courtesy of Nik Kershaw, champions of mullets and 80s pop hits, apart from his own hits he was the man responsible for Chesney Hawkes "One and Only". Jacques cites him as one of his pop idols, whatever floats your boat Jacques! But that aside Kershaw does a surprisingly fantastic job, his vocals fit like a glove into the machine like electro vibe. Full of emotion at times for the chrous and at other times he sounds detached which fits the concept of being an outsider in society but being comfortable with it. Everything works in this track, the vocals, the lyrics, the synths and the piano jams that appear towards the end. "Damaged People" ends the album on a dark sinister note. The gritty, fuzzy synths combines with eerie sound effects, guitar riffs and the sythns. At times the beats sound like a heartbeat. After getting over the spookiness of the music, you finally unlock what this song is about. Ribiero lends his talents again for the vocals, full of emotion but he doesn't belt them out as much as his other offering on the album; this time it's a bit more subtle. The grittiness of the track works well with theme of living in a city full of damaged people. It's an interesting and down tempo way to end the album off.

When I look at this album and see that this album was made in 1999, I can't believe it. Dance music is ever evolving, probably the most progressive and forward thinking of all music genres. Tracks that sounded decent back in the 1990s now can sound, out-dated and frankly a bit naff. But what makes a truely classic dance track is having a song that still sounds as fresh as the day it was made. Every song on this album sounds fresh and new, you could even say before its time, it hasn't dated one bit since 1999. That for me is the sign of a classic album.

So what about all the 80s influences? Well Jacques may have a "thing" for that era and it does influence his music but everything that he does has a modern edge to it. Some of the songs have a deliberately kitsch sound like the Miami Vice nightclub that is "Dreamin". Others are just so funky that they couldn't have relied on one man's love of the 80s to create them. Jacques Lu Cont does the job on production, using vocal samples from all over the place and adding a smooth, modern edge to it all. People may say the album lacks depth and it part yes it does. But it never set out to be a life affirming album, this is digital rhythms you can dance to, chill to and just simply listen to and have fun. With a light hearted philosophy you have results like "From Disco to Disco" and the anthem " Jacques Your Body".

This album is an essential buy for any dance music fan, a modern classic that you will never forget. If you like rock then it might not be for you. However if you love the acid disco funkiness of the song from the car advert "Jacques Your Body" then I have a feeling you will love this album. It really is a complete album it has the dance anthems as mentionned but it also has great vocal tracks like "Sometimes" and "Take A Little Time" and of course there are the more down tempo, reflective songs of "Damaged People".

The album fits perfectly into the world of Jacques Lu Cont. The cover is a drawing of Jacques Lu Cont with his red died hair and headphones on. The back crover shows a drawing a girl posing in front of what looks like an old 1980s VW Golf. Everything has been drawn in that slightly futuristic, streamlined style. The album comes across as quite stylised. The album art was created by Philip Castle, the man who was responsible for the drawings on the posters of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange".

The album is currently available in HMV for the very good price of £8.99 so what are you waiting for? Go buy this and experience Les Rythmes Digitales.

Thanks for reading.

If you like this you will like....
Zoot Woman and their two albums "Living in a magazine" and "Zoot Woman" both released on Wall of Sound recordings.
FabricLive09 mixed by Jacques Lu Cont
Mirwais with the album titled "Production" on Sony

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Comments on this review

  • tinkerbelly published 11/08/2006
    i just love this album. i bought it cuz i love zootwoman and everything stuart price does just turns to gold! he has been madonnas 'musical director' for her confessions album and its just great! every song on here makes me wanna shake my ass and dance. buy it! x
  • knight_of_the_soundtable published 12/06/2005
    Fantastic op! I could almost hear the music while reading it, and I'd never even heard of Les Rythmes Digitales before. What I especially like, is that you don't go on and on in the same vein but really illustrate these songs and sum up the feel of the whole album afterwards without merely copying what you said before - but adding to it, going deeper in your analysis - beyond the first impression. Nice one. I think I might really like the 'Jacques, Move Your Body' track. I'm not so much into house music, see, but I do enjoy sharp cuts and creative use of sampling; add a little distortion and weirdness plus a little bit of live music, and I'm happy. Probably needless to say: I'm a sucker for Squarepusher - but that's down a different alley...
  • Fox40 published 11/06/2005
    A sophisticated and in-depth review - and then you go and make me fall about laughing with your comments about Nik Kershaw's mullet under his pic! Well done again though - nice work! I I realised I knew more tunes than I though! :o)
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Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Electronica - Label: Wall of Sound - Distributor: PIAS UK/Arvato Services, PIAS UK/Sony DADC - Released: 24/05/1999 - 5028589007420, 5028589007451

Product Details

EAN: 5028589007420, 5028589007451


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