Joakim, Starchild & The New Romantic
$13 ADV | $15 DOS
Since 1999, when he released his debut album as Joakim Lone Octet (an electro-jazz exercise in style on Future Talk, the experimental sub-label of Versatile), Joakim has been a tough musician to pinpoint. An ex piano student at the Conservatory, the man has taken great pains (and pride?) to avoid being pigeonholed and has grown on the outskirts of the French Touch and international Club scenes, becoming one of their major players but refusing to associate with any crew, current, style or genre.
Year after year, Joakim has gathered experiences that confirm his global vision of music and explored many facets of the musical spectrum: a musician with four albums under his belt; a label founder and manager (the fantastic Tigersushi and the recent vinyl-only Crowdspacer imprint); a self-taught graphic designer (he designs his record covers and most of the label’s artworks); a DJ whose huge musical spectrum makes him equally at home at Panorama Bar, and outdoor rave or an art show afterparty; a fashion enthusiast (he launched Tigersushi Furs with his cousin); a producer (for Panico, Poni Hoax, Zombie Zombie, Y.O.U., Montevideo...); a high-profile remixer who sends the tracks he works on into another galaxy; a sound designer for catwalks and recently for contemporary art, working on Camille Henrot's installations and videos who won the Silver Lion at the 2013 Venice Biennale and made the cover artworks for Tropics Of Love.
From Fantômes in 2003, deviating house music from the end of the 90’s, to Nothing Gold in 2011, a vision of pop music as defined by the DFA label, and the more cerebral, frosty and metallic Monsters & Silly Songs in 2006, Joakim has left his fingerprints on current electro, modernizing and hybridizing it, with no concern for schools and genres, taking his inspiration from new wave as well as krautrock, noise and disco, ambient and house…
While Joakim had recorded his latest albums mainly with his live band (Juan De Guillebon aka DyE and Mark Kerr), for Tropics of Love, he had to go back to his musical roots : now NYC-based, without his musicians, away from his Paris studio where he's been collecting synths, machines and other instruments from hell for years, he barricaded himself in a bedroom of his New-York apartment and worked with a minimalistic setup, a few analogue synths, a sampler, a mic and a computer.
Anchored between the end of the 80’s and the beginning of the 90’s - when industrial music courted funk, when electro(nica) made its first appearances and house was visceral and utopian - but also strongly inspired by current futuristic R&B and hip-hop productions, Tropics of Love slows down the tempo and shines like a sun of steel, with a devilish romanticism. 'On the Beach', a dark Balearic take on Neil Young’s classic song, will make you melt with pleasure; 'This is My Life', a Lil' Louis style fierce techno attack will tickle your feet, just like the bouncy 'RX777'; you'll throw your hands in the air for 'Bring Your Love', a pure gem of mournful pop with Luke Jenner of The Rapture on vocals; you'll move your butt to the syncopated R&B beats and the feline voice of Akwetey (Dragons Of Zynth) on 'Each Other'; and only Joakim can make you fall asleep with your eyes wide open on the deviant electronic jewels that are 'Three Lazer Fingers' and 'Hero'.
Altogether retro-futuristic and forward looking, electrifying and contemplative, Tropics of Love draws the fine contours of the soundtrack of a summer that shall be radiant and magnetic.