Cheese, wine, puff pastries, provocative movies; whatever it is the French are doing, they'll give it their signature sumptuous twist.
French dance music is no different. It's sexy and artsy but not too high-brow. It's simple in construction, and yet it has that je ne sais quoi.
You know what else the French like to do? Make you wait. It took French electro pioneer Étienne de Crécy a decade to release his latest proper album. But with Super Discount 3, fans must admit, it was worth it.
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The third in a series, Super Discount 3 also marks the near-20th anniversary of de Crécy's cheap-meets-chic concept. In a short documentary on YouTube, the producer says it's always been about creating music quickly and without overthinking. It's about universality too.
"You can listen to at home. You can put it on at a club and you can dance. You can drive. You can nap," de Crécy says of his latest. "That was really important to me, that it was an electronic music album that you can listen to anywhere."
Super Discount 3 is just as sexy as its predecessors and arrives just in time for the all-encompassing house revolution happening on the dance music scene. Much like many of his counterparts, de Crécy felt himself being pushed into a simpler, more classic direction.
"I was touring with the cube, and the music I used to play was really maximal," he says. "I needed music which could fit with the cube, banger tracks, but in my DJ sets, I was playing more and more house music, softer stuff."
In 2011, de Crécy released his Beats'n'Cubes Vol. 1 compilation, effectively wrapping up the era of the large-scale, 3-D-mapped mayhem that he'd taken all over the world. Secluding himself in Paris, he began toying around with partner Alex Gopher's massive collection of vintage synths. He was immediately taken with the SQ-80 from Ensoniq and bought one right away. After a bit of fiddling, he composed a few tracks.
"'Hashtag My Ass' and 'Night (Cut the Crap)' were the first two," he says. "When I made those tracks, I said 'OK, that is the sound of Super Discount 3.'"
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Each LP in the Super Discount series centers on some new synth or another. Feeding off the freshness of a new toy, de Crécy explores its sound like a kid on Christmas.
"To me, it's more fun to work with faders and the buttons," he says. "With a trackpad, it's not really a musical interface. The buttons and faders are really amazing.
He adds: "But at the same time, I know that with all the plug-ins and digital stuff, producers are able to do more. With vintage equipment, the sound is old now. I see that I must go further with plug-ins and digital stuff, and I must do it now."
The creeping hand of technology is all over the new album. Much as the original Super Discount dabbled in old disco and Super Discount 2 played with themes related to peer-to-peer services, Super Discount 3 is theme music for the modern world, addressing our all-consuming online obsessions.
"I'm not against the social networks," de Crécy says. "It feeds the ego more than the fridge, and I think for us artists it's important. We need to be loved."
Just like the teenaged girl who lives for Instagram likes, he and his producer peers are addicted to instant gratification.
"The only feedback you used to have was a review from the journalist," he says. "Now you have the reviews from your fans or from other people, and it's more real."
It's change that de Crécy embraces, even if that same technological expansion means less change in his pocket.
"I prefer to have more records heard. But at the same time, I need money," he says. "Now, when you get a lot of views, that is a big success. In a way, that's cool. Less money but more love."
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Étienne de Crécy's Miami Debut. With Patrick Walsh. Saturday, February 22. Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. The party starts at 10 p.m. and tickets cost $20 to $25 plus fees via showclix.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-576-5570, or visit bardotmiami.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
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