Tag Archives: air

French Touch

24 Mar

Want the lowdown on French Touch? No, it’s not a seduction technique.

French Touch is a type of house music pioneered in the 90s by artists like Daft Punk, Cassius, Etienne de Crecy and Air.

I won’t bore you with the details (apparently ‘most tracks in this vein feature steady 4/4 beats with a tempo range of 110–130 beats per minute.’ Thanks, Wikipedia.) It’s basically house music with notes of electro and disco thrown in, performed by French artists.

The term was actually coined by an Englishman. Journalist Martin James used it in his 1996 review of the first Super Discount EP by Etienne de Crecy. The term took off in the French media and became a recognisable musical genre by the late 90s.

Who can forget Daft Punk‘s catchy rhythms? The most well-recognised French Touch duo (Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem Christo) met at school in Versailles, and are famous for their club anthems and eccentric get-ups. Who knew posh boys – or indeed anyone – could party like this pre-Gaga?

Air (Jean-Benoît Dunckel and Nicolas Godin) are a personal favourite. Their work on film soundtracks is particularly interesting, namely on Sophia Coppola’s “Virgin Suicides” in 1999 and their psychedelic 2011 soundtrack for the restored version of George Melies’s iconic “Voyage dans la Lune.” This is one of their best-loved songs:

The term has been much used and abused, and can now be applied to almost any electronic French group or DJ. Bob Sinclair and Justice are good examples of how French Touch has evolved.

Justice have achieved international success since 2007 with their electro pop tunes like “D.A.N.C.E”. Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay’s latest album has more of a rock feel, but could still be described as French Touch. In my opinion, any label that gets French music recognised internationally can’t hurt!