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Album Review

While his debut album ran with the Wall of Sound crowd to the detriment of some interesting ideas, Jacques Lu Cont came into his own with the second Les Rythmes Digitales album. Consider Darkdancer as Lu Cont's senior thesis in the major course of study: "History of Dance Music: The Early to Mid-'80s." And give him straight A's because he's obviously done his homework and actually studied the texts, without resorting to rote memorization and subsequent regurgitation come test time. Every club-oriented stylistic speed-bump of the decade is right here, including the era of female dance-pop before Madonna (yes, it did exist) with "Take a Little Time," an earnest little electro-groover that earns Lu Cont bonus points for utilizing the crucial '80s diva Shannon. "Hypnotise" is a nice little electro-paranoia track to fit in with Bambaataa's "Planet Rock," and "Brothers" takes on streamlined dance intellectualism a la New Order (with a straining pseudo-bassline to match). The house era is probably best represented, with nods to Chicago jacking house — complete with stuttered vocal tags — on the standouts "Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)" and "Music Makes You Lose Control." Even when he strays into territory last inhabited by Level 42, as on "Sometimes" (with Nik Kershaw on vocals), a great song and a great production rescue Lu Cont from anything potentially cringe-worthy. That's the secret of Darkdancer; well-written songs and excellent production skills — plus a sense of fun that takes no prisoners — make artistic originality nothing more than an academician's game.

Biography

Formed: 1978 in Paris, France

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

More akin to French nu-disco compatriots like Daft Punk than his Wall of Sound labelmates, Jacques Lu Cont's Les Rythmes Digitales project bridges the gap between the quintessentially early-'80s phenomenon of synth pop and more contemporary styles like acid house and trip-hop. Lu Cont is actually of British origin, however; he was born Stuart Price to a Reading couple vacationing in Paris. Both were classical pianists, but Stuart was turned on to the twin towers of electro — Kraftwerk and Afrika...
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Darkdancer, Les Rythmes Digitales
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