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Le Syndicat Electronique – 1996-2016

1996-2016

1996-2016

The polynymous Alaxis Andreas G. once took on the alias of Alexandre Gand for his Le Syndicat Electronique solo project, which has long been absent from the electronic music underground. Last year, this respected yet slowly forgotten project released 1996-2016 on Germany’s Dark Vinyl imprint—another retrospective of unreleased songs and greatest hits after his only work in the past decade, the two-disc Retrospect[r]ive 1998-2005. Gand’s aesthetic was largely built upon a militant style, donning a balaclava and playing a form of martial electro that sounds like an aroused, robotic crooning. Not much has changed except the balaclava. 1996-2016 sheds light on Andreas G.’s new forays while drawing the listener back to a few old gems.

Gand disappeared in his early thirties after snubbing Parisian club culture (“It’s my electro response against all the electronic shit in this fucking uncultivated ‘DJ Boum! Boum!’ world!”), closing Invasion Planete Recordings—a boutique label of approved “Gandish” electro—and ending Le Syndicat Electronique with its career built on playing minimalist dance music that was cyber-obsessed, sexualized, and sad:

“I stopped everything! I said ‘goodbye’ to my old world, to the Invasion Planète friends… They couldn’t understand. It was the calling for me!”

Gand embraces his many names; he’s matured as a composer too. Last year, he released Hütte’s Child of the King, which was an impressive take on martial folk. That same year, he also produced Bruta Non Calculant’s Instinct with De Frontanel’s Victor Yann (which our own Chris Viator reviewed skeptically, at first, and then ultimately praised). In the past, Gand was also known under monikers ranging from La Séduction Des Innocents and It & My Computer to Ubi Edo, and the list goes on. You can still hear Le Syndicat Electronique in his work elsewhere.

Le Syndicat Electronique

Le Syndicat Electronique

“La mort d’une mere” is a familiar work of minimal wave: The woozy tune descends, oscillating further below in the mix while supported by a tin snare and hi-hat sample. It’s a simple song, but it has a particular warmth that can’t be found in most of Le Syndicat Electronique’s other songs. Whereas Gand forces aseptic rhythm most elsewhere, this track inspires compassion. His vocals ascend in one verse with a hopeful tone while dashing that positive vibe in the next, coming across as confused and despairing, and resulting in one of the strongest moments of 1996-2016.

Yet this retrospective is unfortunately mired too often in sluggish dance. “Echelle” seems adequately representative of Gand’s brand of morbidity with rhythms skewed towards disco, but it comes off as being almost tongue-in-cheek. The undulating bass lines on “Der Komponist” splay beneath orgasmic sighs while the music sounds repetitive and, frankly, soulless. These songs are purposeful because of influence and intent.

Gand is quick to credit Kraftwerk as an early influence, yet 1996-2016 exudes their backhanded embrace of technology and its alienating effect. Viator’s opinion of Bruta Non Calculant as, “…pounding drum loops and driving synths, more at home in the dark of a crowded nightclub, actually felt more like a satirical rejection of that life—the indulgences and apathy of modern man,” is apt for Le Syndicat Electronique too, but somehow, it is this quality that leaves 1996-2016 feeling like a casual amusement. You can also hear Dam-Funk and his brand of 80s electro-funk revivalism. If it weren’t for the pull from You by the prim industrial couple of Haus Arafna (on “L’amour d’un traitre,” Gand repeats “Judas Kiss” like Haus Arafna do one their own “Judas Kiss [You Were Chosen to Suffer]”), you could play 1996-2016 at a block party.

1996-2016 unfortunately does not go past 2005, yet it is not a waste of your time because it remains a solid lens into the work of Alaxis Andreas G. Is it him that makes the compilation enjoyable though? The more you know, the harder it is to not be enamored with Le Syndicat Electronique because where he’s ended up is such an evolution:

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Track List:

01) Frenquence 01
02) Der Komponist
03) Weight of Despair
04) At the End
05) Never Again
06) Murder City
07) Since
08) I Like You, You Love Me
09) The Canal
10) La mort d’une mere
11) Echelle
12) Derrier le masque
13) Tous programmes
14) L’amour d’un traitre
15) Anonymity
16) The Hunt
17) Signals
18) Losing Our Control
19) Everytime
20) Herr Geldmann

Rating: 5/10
Written by: Colin L.
Label: Dark Vinyl Records (Germany) / DV 68 / CD
Electro / Minimal Wave