No Void


"We're big fans of French synthpop like Jacno, Deux, Ruth, and Serge Blenner. This kind of playful synthetic sound mixed with weird and sometimes depressing poetry had a big influence on us as kids and as musicians," reveal the French duo DAT Politics. Since 1999, Claude Pailliot and Gaetan Collet have been working on music shaped by those influences, without referring to them directly, on various albums and EPs for labels such as FatCat Records, A-Musik, Chicks on Speed Records, and Sub Rosa. Drone, noise, and musique concrète are other points of reference that clearly come through in their electronic songs, though they're also closely related to pop music. This time around, their songs once again took shape under such extra-musical influences as astronomy, philosophy, and programming language, as well as surrealism, fantasy films, and their own dreams. The nine tracks on No Void, which the duo describes as a "hallucinating ride in a space roller coaster: scary and funny!", were created in winter 2014 in a small cabin in northern France. The whimsical tour de force was recorded using computers, old beat-up synthesizers, worn-out keyboards, samplers, voice boxes, and children's toy instruments. Pailliot and Collet whisper into the microphone in French and English, their voices naked or distorted by a vocoder, at times using both languages in the same song, as the track "Reptiloid" demonstrates with poignant levity. The work occupies an eclectic territory that includes catchy melodies, versatile singing with pop appeal, and playfully rocking chiptune, synthwave, and electro. Pailliot and Collet's appreciation for Depeche Mode, Yazoo, OMD, Jean Michel Jarre, and Kraftwerk is as apparent as their love of Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze and the soundtrack worlds of Ennio Morricone, Giorgio Moroder, and John Carpenter. Yet rather than simply repackaging their personal preferences, the duo transforms art into something totally autonomous using a creative "cut-up" method as practiced by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin. DAT Politics' songs are a combination of surreal stories, hidden meanings, and a search for clues within one's own subconscious. And as DAT Politics seeks mainly to electrify in a live setting, every track begins with bass and rhythms. Despite the atmospherically dense interplay between melancholy and joy, this approach is what makes No Void above all an album intent on rocking it in high style.