French House: A Timeless Groove with Rich Origins
In the dynamic world of electronic music, a genre emerged in the 1990s that would forever change the landscape of dance music: French House, also known as French Touch, filter house, or tekfunk. Rooted in the rich tapestry of European disco and American dance music, French House has become a defining strand of the late 1990s and 2000s European Electronic Music scene.
History and Influence:
French House finds its roots in American dance music, Euro disco, and the space disco music style. Space disco, championed by artists such as Cerrone and Sheila and B. Devotion, enjoyed popularity in France during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The influence of American P-Funk, with the likes of George Clinton and Bootsy Collins, also shaped the genre’s sound.
French House‘s evolution was further enriched by elements of 1970s French pop music, championed by musicians like François de Roubaix, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Serge Gainsbourg. Thomas Bangalter, known for his work with Daft Punk and Stardust, was among the early pioneers of the genre, with tracks for his Roulé label serving as some of its earliest examples.
Origins: French House itself is a style of house music devised by French musicians in the 1990s. It marries the best elements of disco, funk, and house music, fusing them seamlessly into a sound that’s irresistibly infectious and euphoric. While French House draws significant inspiration from American funk and disco, it adds its distinctive French twist.
In the vibrant realm of electronic music, French House boasts a roster of influential artists, each of whom has left an indelible mark on the genre and the global electronic music scene. At the forefront of this musical movement are the following iconic figures:
Daft Punk: No discussion of French House is complete without paying homage to the visionary duo of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, collectively known as Daft Punk. Their groundbreaking work, epitomized by albums like “Homework” and “Discovery,” not only redefined the boundaries of the genre but also reshaped the entire electronic music landscape. Daft Punk‘s tracks, including classics like “One More Time” and “Around the World,” have transcended generations and remain timeless masterpieces.
Stardust: Within the realm of French House, a noteworthy project featuring Daft Punk‘s very own Thomas Bangalter deserves special recognition. Stardust occupies a unique place in French House history, with their single “Music Sounds Better with You” frequently celebrated as one of the most exceptional dance tracks ever produced, perfectly encapsulating the essence of French House‘s magnetic allure.
Cassius: The celebrated duo of Philippe Zdar and Hubert Blanc-Francard, collectively known as Cassius, have made remarkable contributions to the movement. Their debut album, titled “1999,” stands as a testament to their ability to craft infectious and dynamic tracks that resonate profoundly with dance music enthusiasts across the globe.
The Supermen Lovers: Renowned for their infectious grooves and virtuosic sampling, The Supermen Lovers have made substantial contributions to the distinctive French sound. Their tracks, exemplified by hits like “Starlight,” have transcended dance floors and become anthems, firmly establishing their position as pioneers within the genre.
Modjo: The dynamic French duo behind Modjo, namely Romain Tranchart and Yann Destagnol, achieved international acclaim with their chart-topping single “Lady (Hear Me Tonight).” This particular track not only encapsulates the essence of French House but also achieved global recognition, resonating with audiences around the world.
Justice: The dynamic duo consisting of Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay, collectively known as Justice, introduced a rock-inspired dimension to French House. Hits like “D.A.N.C.E.” and “Genesis” effectively bridged the gap between rock and electronic music, further highlighting the genre’s boundless versatility.
Étienne de Crécy: As both a solo artist and a driving force behind Super Discount, Étienne de Crécy has made significant contributions to shaping the unique French House sound. His innovative and eclectic approach to music production has garnered him a devoted following.
UK dance music and European DJs began to recognize French House experiments in the mid-1990s, with commercial success blossoming in 1997. Daft Punk, Cassius, and later Stardust became the first internationally successful artists in the genre. Major label support, combined with a growing awareness of the clubbing scene, propelled French House to new heights.
The emergence of the French sound coincided with dance music’s popularity in the UK market, which was also experiencing a surge of interest in electronic music. Daft Punk‘s debut album, “Homework,” entered the top 10 of the UK album charts upon its release, solidifying their status as one of the UK’s biggest-selling French acts since Jean-Michel Jarre.
French House itself is a style of house music devised by French musicians in the 1990s. It marries the best elements of disco, funk, and house music, fusing them seamlessly into a sound that’s irresistibly infectious and euphoric. While the genre draws significant inspiration from American funk and disco, it adds its distinctive French twist.
Photo Credit David Black (c) Daft Life Ltd