French touch: exceptionalism in France
In the early 1990s, France discovered techno with the arrival of rave parties in the country after they were banned in the UK by Margaret Thatcher (sometimes being an Iron Lady has its benefits). Various young DJs of the time – including Laurent Garnier, David Guetta (really!), Dimitri From Paris, DJ Cam and even Air – picked up their bpm and decks and began creating a new sound, combining house and techno from Detroit and Chicago with a wide variety of influences such as funk, disco, jazz, soul, trip hop and acid jazz.
The French touch phenomenon exploded in the middle of the decade thanks to numerous projects which have now become iconic: St Germain’s Boulevard album in 1995 with its acid jazz and deep house influences, or Homework, the debut album from Daft Punk which was released in 1996 (‘Around the world, around the wooooorld…’). Numerous artists such as Etienne de Crécy, Cassius and Demon emerged in their wake. But it was the Stardust song Music Sounds Better With You, which sold over two million copies across the world, that truly established the genre as a cultural phenomenon.
You don’t have to dive into 1990s nostalgia to find French touch: the heirs of the genre are still keeping its sound alive in the guise of Justice, C2C, Kavinsky, Breakbot, Mr.Oizo, Yuksek and Brodinski. Get to your playlists!
Watch Arte’s French Touch documentary series