A horizontal listening session from a French mainstay.
It sounds like the winds of change are blowing through Sylvain Peltier's music. "I'm at an artistic turning point," he tells us. "I guess this mix illustrates [this] pretty well." If so, we can expect plenty of deep, spacious and, most notably, downbeat electronic music drifting from Peltier's studio in the coming months and years. The sound of the mix might not seem obvious from the tracklist—names like DJ Overdose, Vakula and D'Marc Cantu don't exactly bring to mind calm and introspection—but Peltier spends these 90 minutes presenting a dazzling inversion of the techno sound he's become widely known for.
If Peltier is moving away from the dance floor, he's leaving some fantastic club tracks in his wake. He began releasing music as Zadig in 2009 (he'd been involved in the French scene for well over a decade before that) and went on to become a central character in Paris's techno resurgence. There's a track called "Re-Form" from his early period that really captures what he was about as an artist: dubby, heads-down techno bombs that were striking for their grooves and simplicity. That one came out on his own Construct Re-Form label, which wound up as a lightning rod for emerging French techno talent. It's released music by Antigone, Voiski and Birth Of Frequency, each of whom became key artists in the Parisian scene. (Those three and Peltier have a live group together called Unforeseen Alliance.) At this point Peltier has a decent stable of other labels releasing his music (Deeply Rooted House and Syncrophone Recordings among them), ongoing relationships with some of the world's best dance floors (Tresor seems to be a particular favourite of his), and he's gained a role as ambassador for his hometown's techno scene—in other words, the perfect springboard from which to explore new sounds.
What have you been up to recently?
These past two years have been very rich and busy on a personal and professional level. Many travels, parties, my daughter's birth, some releases and a change of location for my studio. After all this, I decided to start 2017 in a quieter way, trying to be a bit less on the road. I also spent a lot of time organising myself in the studio, trying out new things with no specific goals, without really thinking of producing any EPs but rather focusing on simply making music.
How and where was the mix recorded?
I recorded the whole set at once, simply using two Technics SL 1200 turntables and a Pioneer mixer. This was done in the studio I am using at the moment in Normandy, the region I live in. I have a room next to the studio with a powerful soundsystem and a DJ setup, which is a perfect place to record my podcasts and rehearse my live sets. Of course, I spent some time upfront thinking about the set and picking the tracks. I love this part of the work, which is the most cerebral and interesting to me, choosing which track matches with which, but also leaving space for some surprises during the recording.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
As I said before, the construction of this set has been in preparation for a long time. A podcast is always meaningful to me, and when I do such a recording I spend quite some time trying a few things, and building it little by little. For this one, I selected even more carefully some of my favourite tracks from these past years, since I'm at an artistic turning point which I guess this mix illustrates pretty well. I really wanted to do something very dreamy and cinematic and to put emotions forward. The narrative is not necessarily linear and neither as fluid as when I design a more techno set. This mix is not dancefloor-oriented, and even if some parts could perfectly fit in a party context, these are only some more electric moments in the emotional panel of this set. In the end this podcast is pretty personal and represents me quite well.
It looks like you played some great venues during your recent tour of Asia. Are there any in particular that people should try to check out?
Indeed, I made my very first tour in Asia in May. I had the chance to play in some really great venues: Korner in Taipei, Mystik in Seoul, Contact in Tokyo, Elevator in Shanghai and the shady Dommune with its amazing crew. These were brilliant gigs in some nice places so I can only recommend them all. I'd like to pay a special tribute to Mystik, which just closed its doors. I want to say that I was really happy to have the opportunity to play and have a such great time there.
The Parisian scene got a lot of attention a few years ago because of its rapid growth. Have you seen things continue to develop recently?
Of course the scene in Paris keeps developing, with some new great labels, artists, parties and clubs. It may be a little less noticeable than a few years ago, as the city has now settled itself as one of the major places in the international electronic music scene. Actually, I would like to say that this is even more true for other French cities more under the radar than Paris, where you can find some of the most amazing crowds & passionate promoters and clubs, such as Ostra Club, Iboat, Le One O One (101) to name a few.
What are up to next?
As I said before, this year represents some kind of turn around artistically speaking, I'm pushed towards new sensations. At the moment, I am focusing more on my side project Kern Space Adventures, which is more unpredictable. Next episode will come out on Behzad & Amarou's label B.E.A.R. and I would like to start working on an album. As Zadig, I'm working on a new Deeply Rooted release, two EPs for my labels, Construct Re-Form and Ars Mechanica, and some more stuff for other labels.
After a short break, Construct Re-Form's release schedule is pretty busy and exciting again, and will see EPs from new signings Jonas Kopp, Mike Storm, Umwelt, Samuli Kemppi, Marcelus, Dimi Angelis, and from members of our Unforeseen Alliance: Antigone, Birth Of Frequency and Voiski.