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Black Strobe

Paris, France

Electro House, House

AKA: Ivan Smagghe

Blackstrobe Records, Kitsune, Output
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1997: while the filtered house of the French Touch flounders in its death throes, “Paris Acid City” by Black Strobe, a long, meandering acid track – melancholic and laced with poison – helps reintroduce house music into clubs. With techno lacking direction, electroclash expanding to be the noughties version of 80s new wave, and a disco revival hovering on the horizon, Black Strobe’s heavy loops – think Moroder dipped in tar – and electronic riffs with a hard rock tinge are building the foundations of a certain sound and style, flashes of lightning and mirror balls that are to become, many years later, the musical vocabulary of the French Touch 2.0. In just a few years and a handful tracks, the Black Strobe concept developed by Arnaud Rebotini – post-apocalyptic electronic music – left its mark on dancefloors with the now classic “Innerstring”, “Me And Madonna” and “Italian Firefly”. At the same time, their remixes of “Number One” by Playgroup, “The Biggest Fan” by Martini Bros, “Something to do” by Depeche Mode, “Keine Lust” by Rammstein and even David Guetta’s “The World Is Mine” were burning up the clubs… 2007: Justice are now using hard rock gimmicks and giving them an electronic twist, and Arnaud Rebotini – the mind behind Black Strobe, the man who didn’t wait post-2000 to wear Slayer t-shirts and worship ZZ Top – is already at the next stage. Aided by producer and rock veteran Paul Epworth, Rebotini pours gasoline on the sound he helped popularise (and that certain clever youngsters have started to adapt) and flicks a match at it. “Build Your Own Church” is a rock album, deeply dark, energetic, with Black Strobe coming into its own proudly as a live group. Wrong-footing the narrow-minded techno crowd that was expecting more of the same, just another repetition of the early Black Strobe signature, the album perfected its blues sound through a string of concerts, finding its own voice and audience, leading finally to the track “I’m A Man” – the hymn for a generation whose video has been seen over a million times on YouTube – being selected for the soundtrack to Guy Ritchie’s film “Rocknrolla”. 2010: While we wait for a new Black Strobe album that should see the rhythm and blues/electronic hybrid sound taken to the next level, and before release of a second volume of the “Music Components” project, a formidable techno odyssey whose homage to analogue synthesisers is slated for release in March 2011, Rebotini has had the good taste to turn over some of his favourite Black Strobe tracks such as “Me And Madonna” and “Italian Fireflies” to the younger generation, people like Jolie Chérie, Tape To Tape and The Twelves. Now it’s their turn to give these pure classics of deviant disco a new lease of life on the dancefloor…

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