CD, Boredomproduct, 2010
Music comes in many different shapes and forms. Some may be circular, some triangular, some square. The new album from French synthpop trio, Celluloide, is hexagonal. It was a bit difficult trying to work out how hexagonal music might sound, but noticing the almost title track, “Les Quatre Coins De L’Hexagone”, was slightly more confusing: “The Four Corners of the Hexagon”. But hexagons have six corners! It then occurred to me, with my knowledge of French things, that this might be an example of the common French way of referring to their great nation, “L’hexagone”, as it is slightly hexagonal in shape.
That out of the way, let’s enjoy some synthpop. French language, female vocals, at first appearing cold and neutral, but belying subtle emotion and charm, are a pleasure to listen to here. The music is minimal but somehow complex, managing to sound delicate yet strong, with a healthy combination of modern and vintage influences. Celluloide have described their music as ‘bodypop’ in the past (possibly independently of And One coining the term), and the tight, dry, arpeggiated bass lines certainly display that classic EBM influence. Music for dancing, presumably in a restrained yet stylish manner, but probably not for making muscles!
The opening track, “Imprévisible”, sets things off as described above, with a sweet melody and slightly mournful chorus refrain, before “À Contre Temps” brings some heavier body music sequences, with a tasty selection of synthpop blips and bleeps. The afore-mentioned track about the mysterious four-cornered hexagon is an interesting moment, with processed robotic vocals over a syncopated beat, while “Et Si…” brings to mind that cheeky German bodypop band, until the rather casual, modest vocals take the track elsewhere. “Coeur 8-Bit” is a rousing little number about being accused of being a machine without feelings; “Faire Du Bruit” isn’t especially noisy but is rather good, actually one of the more fragile pieces on the album. Finally, we have the closing song, “Un Conte De Fée”, a slower track, with some subtle touches and surprising turns, one of the darker and possibly more romantic episodes of “Hexagonal”.
So for all you synthpop lovers out there, especially if you like to flirt with electronic body music, or if you are rather moved by the voices of French ladies, this one would be a well-deserved addition to your collection. And if you only quite like synthpop, have a listen anyway, you might like what you hear.
— Nathan Clemence