While techno's definition as a musical genre usually relies on the specificity of its stylistic attributes, it's peculiar to note how some labels—especially those out of France and, more precisely, Paris—don't really seem to bother with generic conventions or techno's so-called "purity." Imprints such as Ed Banger, Institubes and Kitsunéjust to name three paradigmatic casessare all well-known for their telescoping of "rock" and "rave" (e.g. Justice's blending of dance music's energy and settings with rock's sense of spectacle), while Versatile is also recognized for its, er, versatility, as their recent compilation featured a sax solo-enhanced house cut ((me's remix of tienne Jaumet's "Repeat After Me") next to Krautrock-tinged experimental rock, discoid dance and bona fide pop music.
Kill the DJ, the label propelled by the likes of Ivan Smagghe, Chloo and Jennifer Cardini share the same eclectic ethos: Since its conception in late 2004, the Kill the DJ brand has dedicated itself to the periphery of the electronic music sphere, heard best on wide-ranging mixed CDs such as Optimo's How to Kill the DJ or Smagghe and Chloo's The Dysfunctional Family.
On prend les mmmes et on recommence, their first unmixed compilation, then, is all about distilling this philosophy, while unearthing some supposedly hidden gems from the label's vault. Kicking things off, you have the nn-new wave of Battant, an obscure trio whose first album is also about to be released on Kill the DJ. Co-produced by Tim Paris and Smagghe, it sounds more like an exercice de style (think a female-fronted Strokes trying to emulate The Rapture) than anything else. Even the Andrew Weatherall remix of "Kevin (1989)," drenched in dub effects and echoes, can't help but recall his own Screamadelica-era tricks (also see Joss Manuel's "The End of the Story" for another variation on the same theme). Battant is Kill the DJ's most misguided signing so far, and their presence here is utterly bizarre, not least because the label actually had the same bases already covered with Dynamo's "Bark Like a Dog," a collaboration from 2005 between an aging female pop-rock star (Muriel Moreno) and Marc Colin (one-half of Volga Select/Nouvelle Vague). The track's exclusion from this compilation is suspicious, especially considering how well it perfectly encapsulates what Battant are clumsily trying to achieve.
On the basis of the other stuff included here, though, it seems the imprint has its greatest moments when its A&R peeps concentrate on dance floor-oriented functionalism instead of genre-benders. Newcomer Gerard's "House of Horrors" is a monstrous techno beast that should be handled exclusively by cautious DJs and only dropped at well-calculated peak time, while Remote's two cuts (La Horse's spooky remix of "Hardstick" and perfect set-closer "Veron") are solid examples of acid-soaked French electro. Krikor's two inclusions do exactly what they say on the bin (his remix of Chloo's "Be Kind to Me" is a mean dub while George Issakidis's remix of one of his own tracks rocks hard in a funky place), and Jennifer Cardini's take on Fred Hush's "Definition of a Track" is subtle tech-house that recalls Shonky or Dan Ghenacia at their best.
Twelve songs from the same well-crafted mold would have made this a killer compilation: Instead, On prend les mmmes et on recommence ends with the label's folk hero Jason Edwards, whose "Sun Melt" and "Codeine" (remixed here by Tiger Timing) are cute yet inconsequential approximations of what Nick Drake might have sounded like had he lived long enough to take E and jam with Mazzy Star. It's a bittersweet denouement to a bittersweet album from a label with plenty of good ideas about how to cut through generic barrierssjust not a lot of great ones.
Buy Various Artists - On prend les mêmes et on recommence! at
Tracklist: Various Artists - On prend les mêmes et on recommence! 01. Battant - Radio Rod
02. Chloé - Be Kind to Me (Krikor Mean Dub)
03. Krikor - Rock Hard in a Funky Place (Issakidis Dzir Mix)
04. Remote - Hardstick (La Horse Rmx)
05. Battant - Kevin  (Andrew Weatherall Stadium Dub)
06. Chloé - I Want You
07. Gerard - House of Horrors
08. Remote - Veron
09. Fred Hush - Definition Track (Jennifer Cardini Rdfine Rmx)
10. José Manuel - The End of the Story
11. Jason Edwards - Codeine (Tiger Timing Rmx)
12. Jason Edwards - Sun Melt
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