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Dilip Albert Freeman , July 16th, 2014 02:34

While the resurgence of the Parisian dance scene is increasingly well documented by the international music press, there remain areas of its history that are elusively shrouded in shadows. Concrete and the recent Weather Festival have emerged to acclaim and received high marks from music critics, and the Boiler Room took notice by featuring a full program dedicated to the city's talents, including DJ Deep, Zadig, Voiski, and François X. Of course there's more to the story buried in the underground of the past decade, and some of those involved choose to remain as low-key as possible. At the top of this list is Dement3d, the loosely-Concrete affiliated label whose provocative artwork and releases have thus far defined the avant garde of the reborn Parisian electronic movement.

The lineage of Ligovskoï, Voiski, and DSCRD can be traced back to Silicate Musique, a CD and digital label founded in 2008 that debuted these three names and plays an apparent role as a cousin imprint to the vinyl emissions of Dement3d. From Silicate the younger label inherited a good portion of its ethos and also some of its artists, with DSCRD producing three of the label's nine releases thus far and Ligovskoï appearing on the new Dilip EP alongside a heavy lineup of remixers – Antigone, François X, Heartbeat, Voiski, Abdulla Rashim, and In Aeternam Vale, all except the last being exciting upcoming talents from France and beyond. It's the label's most significant offering to-date and also one of its most distinctive, a package that carries the heavy artistic expectations Dement3d has set its sights on since the start while significantly expanding its ambition past DJ orientated 12"s.

Dement3d is no stranger to dark horses; in fact it has made its mark mostly through placing its bets on them. After all, one does not start a label from a nascent scene with a release from an experimental electronic sextet of near-unknowns (DSCRD), only to follow it with an offering from the still-mysterious duo Polar Inertia. In fact, only label co-head François X and his Hiss : 1292 partner Opuswerk have much in the way of discographies outside of the label, though many of the other participants can be traced back to different ensembles originating on Silacate Musique. That these records have turned heads at all attests to both the label's vision and the depth of the talent now blossoming from Paris, and challenging music like the Dilip EP suggests even more clearly that this is a scene to watch for future innovations.

Ligovskoï, aka Nikolaï Azonov and Valerio Selig, are an ambient duo from Paris, known from only a single track on a compliation on Silicate and previously recognised mostly for live film soundtrack work. This background certainly comes across in the four originals that make up the first half of the EP. Comprising a total of about 23 minutes, the four originals each tread a subtle territory between noise and ambient music and comprise a kind of narrative arc where the texture becomes thicker and darker with each successive track. 'Labiate' opens with long, held tones that are slowly corroded around the edges by reverb, with only a slight haze of noise hanging underneath and occasional bass rumbles to push the waves of synthesiser along. Superficially more placid and more obviously rhythmic, 'Goha' is thickened by gently worked feedback and a carpet of filtered hiss that becomes more intense as it progresses. As the noisiest and least melodic piece, 'G.Y.' occupies the climactic position in the four-cycle work, and here uncertain rhythmic movements amidst obscure, pulsating noise provide a foundation for upwardly arcing synthesiser tones that rise intermittently out of the hazy bottom. Last and longest is the EP's title track, which, while built on a basis of buzzing static, has the clearest melodic ideas of the four.

Of the four remixes here, it is not surprisingly Abdulla Rashim's take on 'Labiate' that comes closest in mood to the source material. Imbued with a slow four beat pulse, it removes the noisier aspects of the original, but keeps the gentle forward motion with slowly-filtered sequences and slower arcs of melody. French industrial/techno legend In Aeternam Vale, recently celebrated for his reissued work on Minimal Wave, keeps most of the sonority of 'G.Y.' intact but injects an ominous, slow pulse into his rework as it builds and thickens to a climax before fading away. The longest and most cinematic piece on the EP comes from Heartbeat and Voiski's HBTVSK project as they extend 'Goha' to nearly double its original length and add a slowed techno beat to the melodic washes and synth-heavy sound familiar from Voiski's production. Large, familiar swaths of the original arrive in the second half, carried powerfully forward by the changing drum programs the duo adds as it moves to a dramatic climax. There's little recognisable in François X and Antigone's stern techno rework of the title track, and while it stands out as the most conventional piece on an otherwise searching EP, it gives a good idea why the two remixers have earned leading positions in the current wave of Parisian techno purveyors.

What the total package adds up to is a skewed but far-reaching look on electronic activities going on within Paris, delving past the techno now reaching international attention and into the dark past that birthed it. Dement3d isn't giving away many secrets, but as a major release from an always-insightful and original label that features some of the scene's front-running names, it confirms that there is much still to come from one of the world's most interesting new musical enclaves.  

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