Musical fatigue will haunt you eventually. With the avalanche of material we encounter as digital natives, you’ll soon come face to face with that dreaded emptiness; ‘why do these sounds have no impact on me?’ Marie Davidson pulled me out of said rut – specifically with her astonishing latest album: Adieux Au Dancefloor (which translates as ‘farewell to the dancefloor’).
Davidson manoeuvres around a multitude of artistic fields; part spoken world poet, part industrial experimenter, part synth pop auteur – but a crucial aspect of this album lies with her relationship towards the dancefloor. Both acting as crazed participant and detached observer; Marie offers up a multifaceted – retro-futurist – take on dance music’s carnal ecstasy, keenly observing how, “touring and playing live late at night can lead to destructive habits and behaviours.”
A crystallisation of her singular output can be located on Naive to the Bone; with its hilarious monologue combating the jaded and the cynical; positing the question, “Is it that you feel superior behind your costume of indifference? In the middle ages, people used to wear cloaks, it’s 2016 get real.” This accusatory tale is backed by a jagged synthetic pulse, absorbing and re-configuring vast swathes of electronic history; industrial, EMB, synthpop, techno, and the label DFA (a label she belonged to as part of the coldwave duo Essai Pas).
A propulsive monochrome seeps from this music; a stark pallet anything but lifeless. Some of the most confounding dance music of late beams with a surge of technicolor, but Marie occupies the contrasting spectrum with ecstatic and defiant charge.
For the most part the album sticks to the minimal, though you will stumble across sudden interjections of cavernous texture. It typically feels like a de-cluttering of sound, something which is actually quite refreshing given the state of density in electronic music. Besides, the tracks may be minimal, but their impact is unquestionably maximal; take the sweltering Inferno, by the songs end its achieved deliriously fevered heights; the writhing modulation left audibly unstable. The album concludes with the title track – Adieux Au Dancefloor – a sumptuous exercise in synth pop euphoria, situating Davidson at her most traditionally song based.
Jessy Lanza’s Oh No can be somewhat seen as a kindred spirit to the LP – by no means in terms of actual sound, more in the way it tackles the over-saturation of influences we’ve become sickeningly accustomed to. Instead of slavishly recreating, why not instead treat your sources with a degree of playfulness; blur, mutate, juxtapose; in that sense Adieux Au Dancefloor is a potently modern and transfixing record.
Words by Eden Tizard