Arts & Culture



French synth-pop sensation L’Impératrice (The Empress) announces their exotic and glittery debut album, Matahari, due April 5th, 2019. The first look of this modern disco odyssey comes in the form of the space-age lead single, “Lá-haut” with an equally enigmatic music video. Following the release of the record, the band will embark on a tour of the United States, already selling out The Independent in San Francisco and announcing a second night!

Drawing from a wide range of influences that include ’70s space disco and downtempo ’90s synthpop, L’Impératrice have a knack for the rare and mysterious. “Albums that sold 500 copies in the 1970s are the records that interest us most,” they say. On the debut album, Matahari they draw on some of the finest found sounds and forgotten sonic fandangos hiding in crates across the land, all to give L’Impératrice its own inimitab21st-century twist. Impératrice” is French for “Empress”, and if their moniker is the most difficult thing to grasp for anglophones, then musically there’s nothing that doesn’t translate.

Two shows in a row at the mythical L’Olympia, a 2,000 capacity venue with an illustrious history in the 9eme arrondissement of Paris, mark the end of over a year of touring in France and throughout Europe, Her Majesty is now eager to conquer the New World. Following Matahari’s release this spring, the band will embark on a tour of the United States and Mexico, with The Independent in San Francisco already hitting the *sold-out* marker. The anticipation is high for L’Impératrice to bring their infectious analog disco monster stateside.

Matahari is laden with sumptuous grooves and chock-full of potential singles, comprising of all the right elements, from Air to Frank Ocean. The title track is an ode to the “Golden Age of Disco.” Uncontrollably funky bass lines, analog Moog madness, swooping string orchestrations, and an emphatic brass section combines to form an impressive undertaking that surely pays off.

The title track returns as a penultimate instrumental send-off, and “Là-haut”, a weightless and dreamy instrumental to open proceedings, features some inspired peripatetic bass and some diaphanous percussion that melts in the ears. Elsewhere “Forever Nobody” captures the contemporary mise en scène of life in movies, with a delectable vocal performance from Flore Benguigui. Her adaptability as a vocalist is demonstrated with a sultry sprechgesang delivery on “Balade Fantôme,” a spooky spoken word about being lost in space. Meanwhile “Dreaming of You” is a steamy, almost claustrophobic collaboration with electropop kindred souls and labelmates Isaac Delusion.

Subtle yet majestic, L’Impératrice have a bright future in the republic, though if the six-headed beast is to become real French musical royalty then they’ll have to watch their heads. If L’Impératrice’s stealthy rise to pre-eminence has all been part of the plan at home, then you wouldn’t rule out la domination du monde being on the cards in the future.

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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.

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