Across 20 years Versatile Records has shown itself to be nothing if not, ummm, versatile – witness this cerebral, sexy album of knowing space pop from one Antoine Kogut. It’s a magnificently French record, louche deep vocals, nonchalant synths, slightly schmaltzy and very atmospheric. It would be somewhat lazy, although maybe quite accurate, to liken this to the works of other notable French mavericks Sébastien Tellier or even Gainsbourg.
Antoine would have appeared to have surfaced as part of Syracuse who recorded three similarly beautiful releases for Antinote. He’s also worked with Nicholas Motte, with whom he knocked out a remarkably authentic slice of horror soundtrack disco. Everything appears to have been wonderfully crafted with a perfectionist’s eye for detail and the same can be said of ‘Sphere of Existence’.
Here we get six tracks – a coherent and cohesive burst of laid back conceptual grooves – according to the press release he used just ‘seven synth sounds’ (he also professes to be influenced by the works of Frank Herbert, which is always going to endear anyone to me, in honesty). That’s not to say there isn’t variety here… ‘Shadows Half Forgotten’ lashes an aquatic cod dub backing to Kogut’s pop sensibilities, not a million miles from Bernard Lavillier’s ‘New York Juillet‘. Whilst ‘Current Density’ is a tender slice of wistful ambience. Overall though the listener is best served by starting at the start and letting the whole album wash over them. A throughly enjoyable experience, grown-up, playful and immaculately realised.
‘Sphere of Existence’ is out on September 24th on Versatile Records