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Nine Soundtracks In Search of a Film
French duo Video Love is the inventive collaboration of two artists who you would think are too eccentric to collaborate effectively with anyone. Elmapi is a drummer and electro producer who sings like Nico. Matterlink is a “live cinema” video collage artist who accompanies his screenings with his own audio. Elmapi brings the beats and the monotone vocals. Matterlink contributes audio samples taken from rescued B-movies. Together they create an avant electro soundtrack for a darkly intriguing film that hasn’t been made yet. Think something by a continental version of David lynch or maybe just Dario Argento on a sci-fi jaunt. In a live setting, Matterlink provides the group with its own visuals, but when you put on their debut album, Mon Ange, you just have to use your imagination.
When it’s awesome, Mon Ange can be like a less-mersh version of Radiohead’s Kid A, or it can be a mind-bending electro drone along the lines of Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn.” When it’s not that awesome, it sounds like an Edith Piaf droid malfunctioning, which, when you think about it, is still pretty awesome. But it can leave you wishing for some of those live-cinema visuals to help keep you entertained.
Perhaps, the ’70s synth and drum sounds are meant to be dry and flat. It does come off very austere and cool, bringing to mind masochistically self-imposed restrictions and other sexy things that those European creatives go in for. And it does take us back to the hot, hot electroclash heyday of Miss Kittin and The Hacker. But, unless you are a complete fiend for electronic experimentation and all things that drone, you may find yourself yearning for something to relieve the sonic tension. “Wild Driver” closes the album on a tantalizingly noir note, but nothing ever really breaks down into a groove or anything.
On the other hand, if you’ve grown weary of whatever musical version of circus peanuts is on Gorilla Vs. Bear today, this might be just the grating change of pace you crave. Audit the concrete breakbeats of “Le Bruit des Machines” and arrive at your own conclusions: