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Feel the Burn: The Sizzling Synthwave of Le Louvre - Music Review

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Le Louvre - Music Review

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A man with a slick hairstyle, neat and clean around the edges, chomps down on a loaded burrito. He’s standing at the corner of a crowded street. Some of it falls to the cracked sidewalk at his loafers. Thankfully, it misses his suit. The other cop, in a Hawaiian shirt and cool shades, grimaces at the very thought of the greasy goodness he spies running down the chiseled chin of the man standing next to him. “How can you eat that shit,” he asks.

“Easy,” says the well-dressed cop, “it’s a good burrito.”

Standing on the corner of Wilshire and Mariposa Avenue, these two look like cops because they are cops. And the drug deal that they are waiting to go down is one big con. The tables are about to turn.

There are certain areas of Los Angeles at night that are not hip and happening places to be. You can smell the piss. For two rival LAPD narcotics detectives, let’s call them Django & Nash, this buzzing city and its filth is both their home and their job.

Oh, and did I mention that they hate each other?

Thanks, though, to a classic set-up by a powerful drug lord they desperately want to see behind bars or just dead, the two of them – once they unclench their fists at the very thought of having to be around each other – are going to have to work together to prove their innocence.

And, in this imaginary movie, Le Louvre’s scorching synthwave work provides the rousing tunes that this buddy cop flick needs to make it gel as a new classic.

From silky smooth basslines to a polished ambiance, Le Louvre’s self-titled release, originally released in November 2017, reads easily enough as a modern day answer to the cinematic scores of Beverly Hills Cop and The Man With The One Red Shoe. Sure, there are some overlong generalities in a few of the songs, but – largely – this is an inspired and tasty step forward for the artist and for the synthwave scene.

 

"From silky smooth basslines to a polished ambiance, Le Louvre’s self-titled release is an inspired and tasty step forward for the artist and for the synthwave scene."


 

From the scene I imagined at the start of this review, one can easily see how a buddy cop movie could find its way forward with the creamy electronic nuances of “Blood Moon” guiding its way. Hell, these sounds could also be the backdrop for alien attacks in Los Angeles.  The album’s stunning opening number is a perfect example of the midtempo pulses Le Louvre is so good at creating. Put this on repeat and those bad ass bass notes will vibrate right into your skin.

Le Louvre Chrome Rose - Music Review

But then, with the second song, “2047” the percussion accents create an intro that will force the sweat out. Break out the headbands! There’s a slick groove that is about to dominate the hyperspace scene. Rolling and sliding its way forward, this track is an energetic glide into the retrosphere. With a driving beat and wash of synthesized stylings, these two songs easily establish the best foundation for this release.

One of the singles of the album, “Walking through the Valley of the Dead”, is a haunting mind meld of Halloween III: Season of the Witch intentions. Scared, yet? You will be. This track is dizzying in its hallucinogenic appeal with synth-notes tucked inside a death spiral of electronic vapors. The tune takes its time with its tale and, due to its complexity, nearly eradicates what came before in tone. And it doesn’t easily give up the ghost either.

Thankfully, after a pause in atmospheres with a popwave approach to a remix, “Night of Desire” kicks in with soothing invitation to sit for a spell and enjoy whatever romantic encounters come along for the audience. Eastern-like in its “Love Zone” makings, this track is also nocturnal feeling in its mood, thanks to some underlying melodies that score some big points on a very dense canvas of stars. The whole thing 6-minute affair feels oh so very lush.

Le Louvre

Even modern mainstream dynamics are touched upon here. With two vocal remixes, the release of Le Louvre gives audiences something to sing along with, too. The tracks “No Games” and “Reanimate” are warnings to the soft edges in this score. Sure, they feel upbeat but they are layered in their approach to the pop song. Even musical spaces have corners and these two remixes, expanding synthwave into new areas of the same room, deliver the goods when it comes ethereal ear candy.

Listeners go back to the dark side with “Face Me”, “Techno-Junkie”, and “In The Face of Evil”. Complete with pulsating arcs of vapor-like synth treatments that echo out into the void, these tracks kick like nowhere else on this release. In fact, this release is absolutely inspired in its treatment of creamy basslines before bringing us back from the edge with a retro-assortment of percolating percussion beats and stylized synth-lines.

Leave it then to “Driver” to carry us on home. Back to the start all over again, Le Louvre is an album that flows seamlessly thanks to its excellent production, its empathetic ear for melodies, and a shifting sonic texture.

Harold Faltermeyer, eat your heart out.

 


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