Club Cheval

Club Cheval

 Paris, Île-de-France, FRA

A crew, a laboratory, a stable.


Dance music has often sounded too generic and derivative in the last few years. Hopefully music lovers can find gems here and there. And sometimes they suddenly see an entire goldmine below their feet. Like this night in 2010, when some touched-by-grace tracks were discovered on Soundcloud. Made by four boys from northern France, those tunes had a peculiar « something’s happening there » feeling.

Canblaster, Sam Tiba, Myd and Panteros666 are the Club Cheval – « cheval » meaning « horse » in French. Juvenile yet mature, erudite but fun-loving, they started making music together around 2006 : Myd and Panteros launched a dance-punk outfit called Sexual Earthquake in Kobe, which Canblaster – who had met Myd while they were both studying sound engineering – sometimes collaborated with when he’s not busy working on video games music scores. After a few years of touring, SEIK had a break and the Club Cheval entity itself took shape around 2009, when a schoolmate of Panteros’ called Sam Tiba joined the crew, adding a different touch to the soundscape due to its Jamaican/Black American music background.

The quartet now has a masterplan : building future perspectives for club music through releasing solo tracks sharing a common identity. The first instalments come out in 2010 : the split « Club Cheval » EP, Myd’s fierce « Train to Bamako », Sam Tiba’s insane « Barbie Weed » and Canblaster’s irresistible « Jetpack ». They all do remixes, official or not, that get all over the blogosphere. By the end of the year, they’re all settled in Paris, and hot Parisian Sound Pellegrino label releases Panteros’ « Kegstand » EP. As we speak, Myd, Canblaster and Sam Tiba have new tracks on Marble, the other hot Parisian label for exciting, avant-groove music.

So maybe you think you can see us coming, and that you’ve heard it all before : this « new sound » thing has been used to death in the past 20 years, and you (almost) never bought it. Self-defined newness often stands for a poor excuse to make self-indulgent, pretentious music, filled with « smart » details and witty track titles. Aesthetically speaking, you often get the feeling this so-called new music is another emotional fraud. Club Cheval works exactly the other way : you never really know where you’ve landed, yet you feel at home among these guys who talk to you in this unknown, tasty language. It’s a like a dream coming true : all your aural fantaisies are now reality - and it’s even more fantastic than you thought it would be. You hear echoes of plenty of things you love here – the curvey, bass-heavy swing of London carnival music, the hectic « cabaret » mixing style, all these washes of melodic sweetness coming from Detroit via Tokyo, IDM’s flamboyant nerdism, and many other micro-worlds of music –, except they’re being pronounced with a different accent, another tone. When working on their tracks, the Club Cheval members all share a soft spot for whimsical structures and funny accidents, like they’re all playing Super Mario Kart, but it never weakens or complexifies the groove – it’s just making them more flavour-rich and exhilarating, since they still have the standard dance characteristics like breakdowns, rushes, climaxes, drops, you name it. But you stay hooked to this striking impression that you’re entering a new land in which you want to spend as much time as you like. So take your time, and enjoy the adventure.