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Electric Independence

One of the best things about being a teacher is the long paid holidays you get, especially in the summer.
Κείμενο Piers Martin


Super Discount 2

Crash Normal

More Crash Normal

Crash Fucking Normal

One of the best things about being a teacher is the long paid holidays you get, especially in the summer. If you teach at a public school, the time off is crazy, plus all the kids at those places are mostly well-brought-up types who don't cause you much hassle and do their work on time, so it's not like you're gagging for a break come term's end. I guess if you teach at a grimy comprehensive full of kids who don't give a shit, then the holidays, which are shorter anyway, can't come soon enough. But like their pupils, teachers always dread September when the new school year arrives and it's back to square one, teaching the same old subjects in exactly the same way to a fresh batch of insolent nippers. It's a real slog.


I think this is why I couldn't get hold of the main dude from this insane French band from Paris called Crash Normal (a brilliant name, BTW). He's Jerome Normal and he's an art teacher, and being French and an art teacher, he basically took the entire summer off to "go on vacations" (he wrote me a note with all six of the ridiculous Crash Normal CDs he sent) and remains incommunicado at the time of writing even though I've rung his mobile every day for a fortnight and sent emails and called the Marseilles label, Byteburger, that puts out Crash Normal's weird, wired electronic punk rock. The guy at ByteBurger just shrugged down the phone and said something about "vacations". Personally, I much prefer the word holiday to vacation. Vacation sounds too American (I know "vacances" is holiday in French) and too much like hard work, the antithesis of what a holiday should be, like you officially "vacate" whatever you normally do; holiday sounds so much more free and frisky, like anything goes, you know?

Well whatever. The fact is Crash Normal are the natural successors to all those mutant, experimental late-70s / early-80s French new wave groups like Metal Urbain, genius squat-dwelling, smack-riddled nihilists who lived off corned beef and made a vicious white-noise psychobilly racket that's only becoming known now thanks to Acute Records' timely reissues of CDs by the Metal Boys, Doctor Mix & The Remix and Metal Urbain (these groups are all effectively the same band that revolved around Eric Debris, who I presume ripped off Suicide like everyone else). What's interesting about Crash Normal is that half their music is straight-up amphetamine garage boogie that's so fashionable right now if they played in Shoreditch or wherever, east London would basically explode with excitement. Track down their brilliantly-titled Heavy Listening LP (out on white vinyl on US label SS Records) and then wait for My First Stop, due on Byteburger imminently, which is all short, sharp and sweetly melodic songs hollered in Franglais and sounds incredible live. And then Crash Normal also produce loads of playful minimal lo-fi synth-pop that ranges from snarling, spluttering Whitehouse-style analogue terror to cute micro-disco tunes. Check their Sporelec, Pingup and Stylodécor albums for this stuff—or visit the byteburger site ( and download some tracks for free. In a funny, retarded way, Crash Normal are extremely versatile and, if Vice was some shitty hype mag, we'd call them the best new band you've yet to hear or something.

What else? Jeannine from Kompakt says that the massive Kompakt 100 mega-rave in Cologne the other weekend was a "super, super-great party" (well she would, wouldn't she, but I believe her), attended by 3,500 beautiful Euro revellers, and that Michael Mayer's debut album will be out in November. She also sent over the debut album by Ada, Blondie, out on the discreetly-on-it Areal label who sell a surprisingly large amount of records. Ada's probably best known for her lovely "Blindhouse" / "Luckycharm" 12-inch, two strange and seductive pop-house tracks that appeared on dozens of hip DJ mix albums over the last year. Blondie is more of the same, ten basic, bubbly, vocal-peppered electro-ish numbers that, while Ada's not exactly a Villalobos-like studio magician, reveal her intuitive sense of melody and sampler-assisted arrangement. She even gets away with a cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' "Maps" and the lasting impression is of a girl chainsmoking in her room, transcribing her feelings into her sampler, red wine to hand, blissfully lost in her own dream world. A nice place to be.

Also unreasonably enjoyable is Super Discount 2, Parisian producer Etienne De Crécy's long-awaited follow-up to 1997's Super Discount, his suave designer disco LP that defined the French house explosion of the late-90s, which listening to it now, sounds fairly lame. This new one, with its hot pink sleeve, and collaborations with Cassius, Alex Gopher and DJ Mehdi, is full of shimmery electro-pop and elastic house grooves, so glossy and Lycra-tight you wish it hadn't been made by a bunch of middle-aged blokes but was instead the debut by some ultra-talented young minx destined to be so insanely famous she'll go nuts and end up a castle-dwelling recluse surrounded by fluffy cats and chinchillas, like a disco remix of Brigitte Bardot.

Back to the education theme: I'd just like to thank Dutch master Alden Tyrell for teaching me so much about how beautiful and moving synthetic disco music can be. His latest singles, the lush three-track "Disco Lunar System" (Clone) and the A Visitor From Another Meaning 12-inch on Viewlexx, are out of this world, pretty much perfect. Buy them and drift into space.