- The sound of Toulouse.
- Occitanian record label and crew Toulouse Gouffre Club are proud purveyors of their local produce. Visually steeped in Y2K imagery, sonically they shift between Italo disco, EBM, techno, rave, IDM and Downtempo in their productions, creating their own mutated genres along the way. Le Debut De La Fin gives you an idea of the minds behind the label and crew, and it couldn't have landed on a more fitting date. The compilation, released on June 21st, not only was astrally connected to the summer solstice, but fell on France's own Fête De La Musique and its celebration of French music.
Amidst the current restrictions and limitations, all across France young people gathered to celebrate their country's musical legacy, and nowhere more strongly than within local, grassroot scenes. Enter Toulouse Gouffre Club, who partied ceremoniously with a back-to-back-to-back set of three of its linchpins—Arabian Panther, Kendal and ERROR508—in front of an excited crowd of onlookers. The footage from the night is both exhilarating, almost intoxicating, with scenes of a jam-packed street brimming with fun-starved dancers. You get the sense that it was a momentous occasion for a group of friends trying to champion the sounds of the South of France.
Toulouse Gouffre Club's debut compilation captures that ebullient spirit, a thrilling compendium of the city's many musical exploits. Across nine tracks the crew dive into myriad genres, touching on the '80s through the current day. They describe it as Italo Body Music, meant to channel an optimism for the "roaring Y2K-20s," a fitting genre for people who can't wait to get started partying again.
Label-head Arabian Panther offers up "Garonne Express," evoking Dune-inspired faraway lands and epic journeys. The track hints at the group's unique blend of Italo disco's shimmering synths and the confrontational beats of EBM, a combination that comes to life in Pablo Bozzi's "Born Toulouse," with its over-the-top synth melodies. A Strange Wedding and Ravenn expand on this theme of exotic landscapes, as if only the brave could reach the next rave or afterparty. Jan Loup's stand-out "Running" showcases textured IDM, haunted by ghostly vocals and breakbeat elements that flex and twist the fabric of the track.
In other instances, you can hear echoes of more refined, less lo-fi iterations of electroclash and bands like Crystal Castles through tracks like Kendal's "Banger City Drunk Ensemble" and Blind Delon's "Embrouille Solide." "THC Test Got My Driving Licence" by the duo ERROR508 stands out, with its wild vocals and trancey synths that tear through its industrial fabric—a clash of elements that perfectly complement each other, yo-yoing through the hectic arrangement.
The compilation closer, La Gouffre's "La Table Basse," could be Toulouse's new anthem. An archetypal snapshot of the crew as whole, it's a summary of all the different genres—and hybrids therein—that Toulouse has to offer, marking what is hopefully of the calm before a summer of fun for a generation of French people, and beyond, who are raring to party.
01. Pablo Bozzi - Born Toulouse
02. Kendal - Banger City Drunk Ensemble
03. Arabian Panther - Garonne Express
04. ERROR508 - THC Test got my Driving Licence
05. A Strange Wedding - Les Ké de la Daurade
06. Blind Delon - Embrouille Solide
07. Jan Loup - Running
08. Ravenn - Cruise Through the After Party
09. Le Gouffre - La Table Basse