Why the Beats & Cubes show is the square root of live electronic music - Etienne de Crecy interview

Square Pusher

Square Pusher

Please note that the Edinburgh and Glasgow dates of this have been CANCELLED

Etienne de Crecy is an outstanding DJ and producer. Born in Lyon, it was a move to Versailles, where he attended Jules Ferry College with Air and frequent collaborator Alex Gopher, that planted the seeds for his acsent to the electronic music hall of fame.

His 1997 Super Discount compilation was the post-club album of choice for a generation of clubbers. He was instrumental in introducing the world to French electronica and helped pave the way for Air, Daft Punk and Cassius to move into the mainstream. There was a fresh and playful touch to tracks such as ‘Tout Doit Disparaître [Everything Must Go]’ and ‘Prix Choc [Price Shock]’. From their stark lurid sleeve design to the infectious, fresh and seriously funky take on house, electro and other beats, it oozed a Gallic cool. ‘“Prix Choc” is my favourite,’ said de Crecy. ‘You can listen to it at home, where it sounds cool, but when you hear it in a club you want to dance instantly. It is something magic. And it’s a very simple track, there is only one sample on the beat, and it’s hard to make something simple sound good.’

Next came Tempovision a deeper album that touched on Acid jazz. ‘My intention was to produce an album of good music, whatever the genre,’ explained de Crecy. ‘Indeed, I recorded a lot of material and I just kept what I thought was good enough for my project without worrying about the style. Actually, I think it’s a disc of house music that is slow – with ballads.’

It was eight long years until Super Discount 2 arrived, made solely on analogue equipment for a minimal house sound and enhanced by the odd vocal sample. This time he took inspiration from peer-to-peer networks and internet music services, with tracks taking on titles such as ‘Grokster’, ‘Bit Torrent’ and ‘Limewire’. ‘It’s not discount anymore. It’s free,’ stated de Crecy.

Now de Crecy is back with perhaps his most ambitious and certainly most visually stunning project yet: Beats & Cubes. It Featuring a truly unique stage structure, designed by Francois Wunschel and Pier Schneirder, founders of Parisian collective Exyzt, De Crecy performs from within a six metre square cubic structure with visual projections synchronized with De Crecy’s live music. It’s a beefed up sound with a harder, metallic techno edge played out on hardware machines (such as an Akai MPC1000 sampler, two Roland TB-303s, a Novation Bass Station synthesizer and a mixer) without a laptop. Tracks like the blaring siren and squealing acid stomp of ‘Welcome’ are all bolted together on stage using loops, sequences and samples for a truly ‘live’ electro show, strengthened furhter by a glitchy, improvised quality for a rougher more organic sound.

However it is the geometric stage set within which de Crecy performs that is the jaw dropping visual component to these exceptional shows. The accompanying lights and projections creating a series of intricate optical illusions. It’s almost impossible to explain the complexity of the ensuing light show, inspired by Daft Punk’s famous Pyramid stage set, as seen at Rock Ness, and updating Orbital’s groundbreaking lights and laser shows of the mid-90s. Instead just have a quick scan on YouTube for visual evidence. A dazzling way to experience one of the pioneers of modern dance music.

Please note that the Edinburgh and Glasgow dates of this have been CANCELLED


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