Updated: Feb 2, 2022
Tout Debord, founded by French artist Leonid Diaghilev, explore the avenues of post-punk and new wave electronic music in their latest release, combining these influences in order to create an androgynous ode to eighties music, whilst still having something a bit more modern to say.
The EP’s four tracks gradually move from the punk-influenced ‘Rester Là’, to the electronica of ‘Outro’, all the while maintaining a similar retro eighties vibe. The vocals are often monotone and dreamy, combining a punk ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude with laid back androgynous new wave influences such as The Human Wave. Both genres support one another well, bringing the best out of each other.
‘Rester Là’ opens strong, with its offbeat drum rhythm and driving bass line, above which the vocal's droll delivery feels reminiscent of eighties post-punk bands such as The Fall. It’s a very restrained texture, the main excesses being the flanged guitar parts that pave the way for the more overt electronica towards the end, the repeating descending guitar motif helping to create the partly apocalyptic feel that suits this vocal style.
‘La Course Du Jour’ ups the ante with its synthesized opening and electronic rhythms, creating a more industrialised setting and getting rid of the driving rhythms of before, allowing a more spacey reverb-filled effect to filter through. Again, the vocals are mostly monotone and more in the background of the soundscape. The bass line is more suggestive than the confrontational style adopted in the previous track, becoming more melodic and distancing itself even further from punk.
‘Le Pont Mirabeau’ goes more for a glam styling with the whispering, reverb filled vocals and shimmering electric guitars; the rhythm section feeling more dance-inspired and hedonistic than the original punk drive. ‘Outro’ is the most esoteric part of the album, leaving all sense of attitude behind, the vocals merely just one other aspect of the whole murky texture, filled with spacey synthesizers and electronic sounds gently swirling about. The musical gestures seem less sure of themselves, barely materialising, the ghostly background voices sheepishly dimming in and out.
The production is impressively controlled throughout this gradual transformation. There are elements that tie all parts together well, such as the consistent use of reverb or the flanged and glam style electronic guitars. The electronic sounds help fill the minimalist punk arrangements, making the whole EP much more cohesive than it otherwise would be.
Filled with catchy tunes and guitar riffs; boasting a controlled and tasteful execution, it might be looking back, but Diaghilev certainly knows what to do with his influences. He ensures that his creation is an informed piece of work, making something both respectful but not too dependent on its influences.