Losless, the Saint-Étienne techno duo have embraced the spirit of minimalism for their new EP, Keyou. What fascinates them about the genre, in art as well as music, is what it doesn't show the audience.
This EP translates into capturing the essence of being human. Even though you might not notice on your first or second listening, it's a three-track EP that is full of imperfections. They've created an intense and introspective soundscape that is as ready for the nightclub as it is a late-night drive home.
By introspective, they mean that it's essentially more raw and honest, unafraid of allowing themselves the freedom of trial-and-error. The confidence to embrace these aspects, present in each of us, although often edited out of modern music, comes from two guys that have big ideas and are willing to do what they have to do to see them through.
Although the feelings are subtle, in-keeping with their minimal ethos, it was also essential for the French producers to overstate them in the production process. Just as an actor must 'overact' to allow the audience to perceive their emotions, Losless similarly utilised this approach. Too subtle and it wouldn't have come through at all. It's a fine balance that they have managed to weigh-up with a promising deftness.
I spoke to one half of the duo, Benjamin Charriere about what went into their new record. He tells me that, "As usual, the guideline of our process is to humanize our music as much as possible. To us, the main problem with electronic music in general is that everything can be quantified and be perfect, it needs to be more human." To do so, they relied heavily on their own talents in using hardware and resisted the urge to iron out all of the creases.
Uniformity is what they seem to be trying to break away from, luckily, they aren't doing so with radical tactics, instead, they've opted to take the route of producing something of a deep quality that harnesses the duality of appealing to both club goers and fellow producers. Depending on who you are and how close you listen, it'll say something different to every ear.
Although Saint-Étienne may not be a global capital for minimal music, it certainly stands to measure that France is one of the global electronic and musical powerhouses. A large influence on the EP was Radiohead, known for their chaotic brand of music that is consistently hard to pigeonhole. They've managed to infuse these tracks with enough of a French flair as to create and continue developing their own sound.
For this release, and possibly for their foreseeable future, Losless are giving up complete control, jaded at the way music has turned into a formulaic and rigid art-form, and are embracing the same ethos of disorder that has proved such a fertile terrain for so many vital artists that have come before them.
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