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General Elektriks

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General Elektriks speaks more than one language. At his keyboards, he produces a stunning amalgamation of funk, electro and pop, in an attempt to create an alchemical musical melting-pot and share this with the crowd. The tour for his previous album, To Be A Stranger, demonstrated this to dazzling effect. This long list of dates (St Petersburg, New York, Olympia (Paris), Rio) means that Hervé Salters, the man behind GE, can prepare the way for his fifth album, Carry No Ghosts. A new experience for the Frenchman: "Usually, I'm more of a monotasker. This is the first time that I'm making an album during a tour. Coming back to my fans with To Be A Stranger after a break of 4 years triggered new song ideas almost instantly. At around the same time, I bought a Prophet 5, a fantastic synthesizer. As soon as I had a few days off, I locked myself in the studio with this instrument, fed by the energy from the fans that I had just been with. Which explains the more upbeat and electronic feel to this new record." On the first proto-hit of the album, "Different Blue", Hervé pays tribute to two major sources of inspiration, David Bowie and Prince. He compares them to a different coloured ocean as he sings "There’s an ocean, wide and blue, I’m just a drop sucked up by the heat, Heat of the sun generated by you, And I’m tinted with your blue". As a baseline to this statement, the rhythm that underlies it brings to mind the greatest music of a certain New York scene in the early 1980s. "When I wrote these new songs I was immersing myself in the back catalogue of groups like ESG and Liquid Liquid and their unrestrained style of dance / punk. Their music is aimed at the dance floor, but still sounds very "played", very live." Crossover and thrilling: that's General Elektriks through and through, verging on the obsessive - call it Hervé Salters' original language, which features on tracks such as "Never Can Get Enough", a powerful electro-funk anthem, or a "Walk by the Ocean" with its minimalist sound that cannot contain its explosive vitality. Salters can't decide whether to be electronic or organic: "Even though I don't listen to much electro, the fact that I've lived in Berlin for five years now, where by definition I'm surrounded by minimalist techno, has an influence. That said, for me, electronic music is not necessarily programmed: it can be played live." Just as General Elektriks doesn't think the same way as everyone else, Carry No Ghosts is not limited to a single dictionary. He blends impressionist touches and a carnal dimension with the electronic sounds and seminal influences of great black music. "You Took Your Time" and "A Dreamy Disposition" slow down the tempo on purpose to immerse the listener in a mash-up of different eras: combining the atmospheric universe of imaginary film music, with the cool of Curtis Mayfield and a rhythmic pollination that mixes hip hop with percussion from Northeastern Brazil. Carry No Ghosts also sees Hervé Salters exploring new directions in terms of lyrics, as well as the way he sings and lets his voice flow. By turn metronomic, suave and unrestrained, it has let him try out a bit of musical Esperanto on "Amour Über Alles", which in itself encapsulates the early 21st century with its multilingual slogans - a mix of Google translate and expressionist collage - all with the immediate melody of a hit. Quite a daring thing to do. Which language to use? "I've lived abroad for a long time. Like so many others I'm an example of this new nomadism. Over the years, other languages have started to come to me when I think, even though I still only speak basic German. I sometimes feel like I can no longer hold a proper conversation in one language. It's a bit disconcerting, but I love the freedom that comes with this loss of landmarks. "Amour Über Alles" is all about opening up to others, about being foreign. So it seemed quite natural to write the track in several languages. With this song, I'm also making a more political statement. Recently, with the election of Trump, the rise of the NF and Brexit, the language of hatred is everywhere, it's become normal to say that you hate your neighbour. It's quite a mind-blowing intellectual reversal. I regularly hear talk of hatred, of disgust in the media, but where is the love in all this? » For the first time since "Tu M’Intrigues" (on the album Cliquety Kliqk from 2003), General Elektriks also reverts to pure French. First of all on "Au Tir à La Carabine", a concise and finely tuned fable, using flexible verbs. Then on "De Passage", an abstract and crepuscular track and magnificent way to close the album . Gainsbourg is never far away. "When I came back to Europe, I was delighted that ideas for lyrics came to me in French. Paradoxically, I feel like these past years writing in English have made me more relaxed when it comes to my native language. When it comes to putting it to music, today, I feel freer." Carry No Ghosts, as the name says. There are no ghosts here, just the desire to be at the forefront. "I've written an album which actually has a party, dance vibe. With these tracks I wanted to get back to the feeling that General Elektriks can have on stage: rocking out full of energy, creating something extremely positive so that people can forget their problems. The baggage that we carry with us every day, the ghosts, is then put to one side. With this album everything fell into place, everything flowed. I felt like a kid with my synthesizers again, I asked the musicians who I play with live to play on some tracks and hey presto! Carry No Ghosts is the end result of this big trip several months long. In the end, it feels like a straight line, something very direct and unrestrained." A straight line which still has a few bends and at the same time opens up new directions for General Elektriks. It's a language all his own.