If there is one thing positive gained from the onslaught of electronic dance music, it is that EDM has certainly introduced a lot of new people to the wider electronic dance music scene and led to the development of many new subgenres.
The French invented one of these subgenres — one that actually makes people want to dance instead of just pump their fists. The sound that is coming out France is usually called French house, and it is sometimes grouped with nu-disco. With it, the French seem to be set on revolutionizing electronic music. Yes, please!
The very French gang over at Cliche Records spent most of last year dedicated to purveying this sound to a scene here in Taipei that was apparently very ready for a change in soundscape. Might I remind you of how good a party they threw a few weeks back at The Wall (這牆)? Breakbot and Irfane sent a room sardine-packed with very happy ravers spinning back to the 1970s, where they absolutely lost their minds. One could argue that it was the party of the year based on the vibe alone. And that was the second time they did it. Promoters, take note.
DJ Surkin, real name Benoit Heitz, is the latest French artist invited to Taipei, and he plays tonight at Korner (you can think of it as the same venue as The Wall). He is a little less disco and a bit more house than Breakbot and Irfane, but just as French. His 2013 Boiler Room appearance was massive and had perked my ears. I highly recommend having a listen if you’re at all suffering from an extended New Year’s Eve hangover and need some getting-out-of-the-house encouragement.
If you’re not already familiar with Boiler Room, it is a live broadcast of very small and very intimate invite-only parties held around the world in secret locations and are hosted by the best DJs and artists. They have DJ sets by anyone from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke to Ghostface Killah to Sven Vath. The rest of the world can watch live on its Web site or later on YouTube.
Twenty-nine-year-old Surkin doesn’t look like he’s aged much since he made his start in France in 2005 with an official remix of M.I.A.’s Sunshowers, which eventually led to a production credit on her latest album Bad Girls. His production catalog runs the gamut on the best in dance music over the last decade, and includes artists like Justice, Boys Noize, Chromeo, Klaxons and Kavinsky. The list goes on.
Surkin’s 2011 album — called USA and released on his own label called Marble — was one of the 21st century’s most exciting concept albums, according to Mixmag. Surkin has also released a handful of music on Ed Banger — a label whose name still warms our hearts today as it’s run by Busy P and is home to Justice and others.
It’s always nice when a producer becomes a DJ, because a bona fide musical geek just offers a more genuine aural experience than do the all-too-common button pushers of this musical generation. Taipei is set for a treat tonight. From the grand stages of Fuji Rock and Coachella, Surkin comes to Korner this evening as part of the euphonious French takeover. Long live the revolution!
■ Surkin plays tonight at The Wall/Korner presents Breakbot and Irfane tonight at Korner from 11:30pm to 4am, B1, 200, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Admission is NT$600 in advance and NT$750 at the door. Ticket includes a drink.