Yes, Daft Punk have parents too! — French band Space performing live in Sicily, 1977
France has a solid history when it comes to electronic music. The first group that usually comes to mind is Daft Punk. But there are many who have come before them that have laid down the foundations: the disco band Space and Jean Michel Jarre.
Son of the famous film composer who scored Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, Jean Michel Jarre took a different route to his father by embracing the newly emerging synthesizer technology of the early 1970s. He had a breakthrough success with his album Oxygene in 1975, pioneering a particular sound of cascading arpeggios that was contemporary to what Vangelis and Giorgio Moroder were doing, and has had a lasting legacy with electronic musicians.
One current label that draws on both these influence is Radio Cosmos. Based in Bretagne, France, Radio Cosmos was set up by Fred Bergamaschi to release vinyl only compilations of space-influenced synth-pop. So far, he has put 4 full length LPs on coloured vinyl, with cover art by science-fiction illustrator Gil Formosa, as well as a couple of split 12” of Keen K and Infinity Night.
Recording as Infinity Night and Aldo Bergamachine, Fred is a big fan of old-school analogue synthesizers like the Arp Solina, the Moog, and Sequential Circuit’s Prophet 5. Giving us an idea of the dominant forces in his sound, in both what he creates, and what he likes, he has put together a mix of the first two synths, the Solina and the Moog. The Solina is the sound of strings and pads, while the Moog holds the melody.
This is a great mix that showcases some of the artists from his own label; simpatico labels like Astro Chicken, Annalogue and Aube (coincidentally, three “A’s”); as well as some wonderful tracks that have been in hiding: the opening “Soldato” by The Mitgang Audio (having come out in 2003 on Suction Records) and “Silenzio” by Theremynt, just released in the last few months on Neopren.
You won’t regret listening to this; this is one of the best things Fred has done.