Various Artists - Too Slow to Disco Neo - En France [How Do You Are - 2019]On a constant search for that delightful, slow groove, the curators of the Too Slow to Disco series have crafted together another loving compilation of soft, lush, almost danceable songs. Shifting their focus over to the sounds of France, DJ Supermarkt instead takes a different approach with this compilation: modern artists capturing and paying homage to the classic, slow sound of the past. While one would love to hear more from acts like Space or maybe some super obscure, unknown Droids release, the songs on Neo are wonderfully refreshing and a loving tribute to a softer, easier time.
Opening with a bang, Poom's "De La Vitesse À L’Ivresse" captures the essence of the TSTD series perfectly. Sexy, slow, and soft, "Vitesse" also plays close to French film soundtracks of the 60's and 70's. The seductive vocals work in perfect conjunction with the sultry bassline to create the quintessential French atmosphere. Had one not known this were a modern track, he/she would be instantly transported to an earlier time. Continuing with this supreme flashback style, Lomboy's "Loverboy," feels like the artist tapped directly into the past and channeled the cozy booth adjacent to the lit up floors of a Parisian disco, while Alain Delon escorted out that evening's lover. While these direct tributes are very impressive, the main draw here is how this music survived into today's scene. Having grown up on acts like Serge Gainsbourg and Michel Legrand, these modern artists have a wonderful base with which to grow, pay homage, and still have a sound of their own. Adding a bit heavier bass to the mix and a more modern beat, songs like Saint DX's "First Fantasy," Claap! & Santana's "Summertime," and Polo & Pan's "Pays Imaginere" all take the classic sound and bring it to the next level. This is the bread and butter of Neo, and although it was a bit of a shock at first, it really opened itself up on repeated listens. This need for more exposure hits the hardest on tracks that are definitely just modern, but with a touch of the slow disco influence. Jean Tonique's autotune heavy "Feel Better Now" plays very well on the collection, but may not be everyone's cuppa upon first listen. Also, while Paradis' wonderfully smooth "Instantané" is a lush, grooving number, it tends to feel a bit off on TSTD. However, the mix is skillfully put together and this compilation flows with the best of 'em.
The latest entry into the Too Slow to Disco series, New - En France is an interesting path for the curators to take, and the choice makes perfect sense. Showing how one of the best scenes influenced modern music and still lives on is a bold move, and one that runs the risk of alienating fans. However, the tracks have been skillfully selected, wonderfully put together, and the series' vibe remains strongly in tact. While one may still wish for a classic, TSTD from France, this modern take should be enough to hold disco fans over until it is realized.Roger Batty