Ivan Smagghe and Arnaud Rebotini compile the best of their remixes on 'A Remix Selection'. They’re also hard at work on a debut album.
Black Strobe compile the best of their remixes on ‘A Remix Selection’ to be released early December. They’re also hard at work on a debut album.
Black Strobe is Parisians Ivan Smagghe and RA podcaster Arnaud Rebotini, who have been mining the darker side of the dancefloor since 2000. Their first single ‘Innerstrings’ came out on Trevor Jackson’s now defunct Output Recordings, following it up with 'Me and Madonna' (featuring Jennifer Cardini on vocals), ‘The Abwehr Disco’ and this year’s ‘Last Dub On Earth’ on Crosstown Rebels, a string of singles that spoke of their intent to make “electronic music that is not afraid to scare people.”
As remixers they’ve rejigged artists both old (Nitzer Ebb, Dominatrix and Depeche Mode) and new (The Rapture, Bloc Party, Sweet Light), blurring the line between rock and dance in a manner befitting a duo who count both Slayer and Detroit techno among their influences. ‘Black Strobe – A Remix Selection’ likewise covers the bases, including rerubs of everything from an unreleased “doom disco” version of Bloc Party’s 'Like Eating Glass' to ‘Sweet Light's electro hit 'Abusator' (Arnaud's fave) to even a treatment of Teutonic metallers Rammstein’s ‘Keine Lust’.
So how does their remix work fit into the bigger Black Strobe picture? “This is the sound that defines us most. Or did,” Ivan admits. “Remixing defines your identity for the audience but, for you, it is very different than your personal work. It also shows almost only the club side of our thing.”
Also in the pipeline is a debut album, slated for release in Spring 2007 with British indie producer Paul Epworth (The Rapture, Bloc Party, The Futureheads) behind the buttons. The connection with Epworth has led to Black Strobe remixing two of the artists he has produced (Bloc Party and White Rose Movement) and, in turn, Epworth has remixed the Strobe’s current single 'Shining Bright Star'. Ivan Smagghe on Paul Epworth: "Paul is so versatile, he has a vast musical culture and a fascination, like us, with Steve Albini," Ivans says. "When we talked about music, we clicked.” Arnaud agrees: “I think it’s important to have external input and someone else’s judgment.”
So how hard was it for Black Strobe to listen to their back catalogue and decide the final cut for ‘A Remix Selection’? “It can be quite a scary thought to listen to a four-year stretch of work,” Ivan admits, “but, on the whole, it stands the test of time. A remix is by essence a track done 'for the moment' – you do not think of it as something to last as much as your own things. I suppose ‘sincere’ is the word. If you have done some work in a sincere way, even if it is old you will not have any problem listening to it. The remixes (on this album) are also quite different from each other, which helps. It’s also true that all these form a sound that may be a bit behind us now.”
Black Strobe – A Remix Selection tracklist
01. Black Strobe / Shining Bright Star (Phones Industrial Version)
02. Tiefschwarz / Ghost Track (Black Strobe Remix)
03. Martini Bros / The Biggest Fan (Black Strobe Remix)
04. The Rapture / Sister Saviour (Black Strobe Remix)
05. Depeche Mode / Something To Do (Black Strobe Alternative Version)
06. Caretta, Hacker, Millimetric / Moscow Reisen (Black Strobe Remix)
07. Bloc Party / Like Eating Glass (Black Strobe Remix)
08. Dominatrix / Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight (Black Strobe Remix)
09. Rammstein / Keine Lust (Black Strobe Remix)
10. Sweet Light / Abusator (Black Strobe Remix)
Black Strobe – A Remix Selection will be released on Playlouder Recordings on December 4th, 2006