Did you know? Voguing, which gained mainstream exposure through Malcolm McLaren or Madonna, owes a little of its fortune to France : since the late eighties, this underground movement born in the Harlem ballroom scene fascinated the very first missionaries of house music à la française, whether they’d be DJs, journalists or promoters. Around the world, most of the wonderful Queens of Vogue had a break through with their performances in music videos on MTV, but nowhere else other than in Paris did we take this New-York gay and multicultural counter-culture so seriously.
It didn’t caught the attention of young producers nor rub off on the pavement of any other city. Therefore, it is without surprise that with their upcoming album « House of Melancholy », Acid Washed, a duo that arose from the second wave of French house, are bringing back a concentrate of everything that house music encloses (we will never say it enough) of polictical, social, utopian, and subversive matters.
Because it’s in the legendary club culture, with its heroes and its secret stories, that Andrew Claristidge and Richard d’Alpert found the clay, the ideas and the outline of pretty much everything that they wanted to inject into Acid Washed. Two house music and techno lovers swaying between nocturnal experiences and encyclopedias, both musicians picked up the house nation as an haven, a home to live in, a place to learn and exchange. One grew up next to the cradle of French techno (Grenoble), the other was trained on classical music, new-wave and punk : Andrew and Richard did indeed cross paths around a substrate named Daft Punk, but above all and later on, around the sprawling club culture which came to life at the same moment in Chicago, Detroit and Manchester, and gave birth to the duo. Considered as a return to the origins of house and techno music after the euphoric unpacking of a big bangish first album, « House of Melancholy » however proposes a synthetic cocktail, highly indiosyncratic : a return to the origins of their own house and their own techno. In this way, the ones who would only see Acid Washed as a pair of skillful technicians of vintage synths and references are in for a surprise. We won’t dance nor dream to the songs of « House of Melancholy » like to any other album, always higher and louder, and a little bit stronger too.
Recorded after going twice around the world, « House of Melancholy » is the soundtrack of Claristidge and d’Alpert’s lives, following the leap into the void. As Richard says, ‘‘My melancholy always travels with me…’’, and it’s especially the emotional paradox of electronic music as it resonates in our hearts that seems to finally reveal itself. Therefore, this is the story of a duo which found itself more and more, better and better, living its own life. Clearly, « House of Melancholy » gives pride of place to strong emotions and melodies. Without ever getting to the shores of electroppop, the duo puts a little more of real, heavy pop, of ‘70s italian variety, of Morricone or Philip Glass soundtracks, and very pure electronica in their dance music. Particularly, Andrew and Richard surrounded themselves with friends to celebrate better : the exceptionally gifted Joakim at the production board, the stentorian Yan Wagner, the too rare Miss Kittin, the swagest Ahmad Larnes behind the mic, the geek comrades Hypnolove, Turzi or La Mverte playing around with keyboards and compressors… We say it again, « House of Melancholy » is a human adventure more than a story of calculation, of chic, or references. An army of beforehands and models is here, but they are spread into movement and emotions, and much less important than the immediate beauty of synthesizers and pure arpeggios curled up around the organic beats going on and on. « House of Melancholy » is a party, an ode to music which unites bodies and souls. Already read that somewhere ? Dance music is eternal. Acid Washed welcome you at the party, Acid Washed welcome you home.