You can accuse Kitsuné headmasters Gildas and Masaya of many things (their average mixing skills as DJs; their tendency to privilege style over the proverbial substance; the sketchy opening hours of their Richelieu street boutique in Paris), but you also have to admire their stubbornness. Here they are, back with their bi-annual Maison compilation, and they haven't changed their perspective one iota. Luckily for us, and not unlike Compilation 9 from six months ago, the songs on display on this two CD selection are tasteful, melodic, and engaging, which says a lot about the vitality and viability of the sound the French label has come to epitomize.
As is always the case, this Maison is shared between newcomers you've never heard of, some more familiar names (such as Australia's own Flight Facilities and their lovely lounge-tinged "Crave You"), and your usual Kitsuné suspects (Digitalism and the jerky comeback single "Blitz"). In terms of discoveries, there's compilation opener "Walker" from Cascadeur, which is as sweet and atmospheric as the imprint has ever gotten. Is Tropical emulates synth maestros OMD on "South Pacific" to perfection, while The Aikiu's "The Red Kiss," Clock Opera's "Once and for All," Young Empires' "Glory of the Night" and Housse de Racket's "Chateau" all share the kind of heartfelt vocals and alluring arrangements popularized by '80s icons Talk Talk. In all cases, this is sophisticated pop that is both welcoming and gratifying.
On the more upbeat side of things, Belgian duo Mustang imposes a pumping and dramatic twist to Two Door Cinema Club's "What You Know" and turns it into a spooky clone of The Immortals' late '70s Italo anthem "Ultimate Warlords," while Yelle (the self-explanatory "La Musique") and Jolie Cherie (the vaguely tropical "Insomnie") are both scintillating examples of modern French chanson. Surprisingly enough, Kompakt luminary Justin Kohncke shows up for a rare venture outside of his usual stable, this time with Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor on vocal duty: the pairing, if unexpected on paper, turns out to be quite pleasing on "Sorry" in a semi-obtuse, semi-sad disco kind of way.
The only true misfires amongst these 25 songs are Beataucue' syncopated beats on "Disque Oh!," which is probably too indebted to Siriusmo or Strip Steve for its own good, and The Twelves' utterly banal take on Black Strobe's "Me & Madonna," a cut that was already perfect in its 2003 incarnation. When there are 23 other little pearls to sing along to, though, it's hard to complain.
When you also consider the Love, X and Midnight compilations the label released right before opting for the Maison franchise, you realize the Kitsuné peeps have been a constant, reliable, and imposing force in the dissemination of contemporary electro pop over the past decade. On the basis of Kitsuné Maison 10, they might just be a creative presence to be reckoned with for a while longer.
Buy Various Artists - Kitsune Maison Compilation 10: The Fireworks Issue at
Tracklist: Various Artists - Kitsune Maison Compilation 10: The Fireworks IssueCD1
01. Cacadeur - Walker (Early Remix)
02. Guards - Don't Wake The Dead
03. Is Tropical - South Pacific
04. Yelle - La Musique
05. Two Door Cinema Club - What You Know (Mustang Remix)
06. Beatacue - Disque Oh
07. Strange Talk - Climbing Walls
08. Punks Jump Up - Blockhead (Edit)
09. The Aikiu - The Red Kiss
10. Flight Facilities feat. Giselle - Crave You
11. Jolie Cherie - Insomnie
12. Wild At Heart - Get Related
01. Clock Opera - Once and For All
02. Icona Pop - Manners (Extended)
03. Young Empires - Glory Of The Night
04. Housse De Racket - Chateau
05. Teeth - See Spaces
06. The Heartbreaks - Liar, My Dear
07. Waylayers - Fires
08. Digitalism - Blitz
09. Black Strobe - Me & Madonna (Twelves Remix)
10. Justus Kohncke and Alexis Taylor - Sorry
11. Psychobuildings - Terror Management
12. Palbomen - Moon Children
13. May68 - The Prisoner (Cecile Remix Jerry Bouthier Edit)
Other Kitsuné Music reviews