This release by La Floa Maldita is their 3rd full length outing. Their style is " Chanson Electronic", which would be, roughly, Electronic Songs in French. But not just any songs, songs of a romantic and soul wrenching nature. For some reason, this band, who have been on various compilations, and have played Wave Gothic Treffen, are virtually unknown in the US. The essential writing core of the band is Guido Le Frick and Rhea ----- Guido handling the programming and instrumentation and Rhea the concepts and lyrics and the sublime vocals. Her pitch may waver on a few low or high notes, but her breathless style and enchanting delivery make me think of a sexier Cocteau Twins, but with Euro Darkwave underpinnings.
Not that they can't rock as well, like on the song Liason Fatal, but there is always a sense of no matter how powerful the delivery is, there is plenty more energy just held in check. Some songs, like this one,do have guitars on them, but the heart of this band is the beat and atmosphere--Guido has toured extensively with Haujob and other European electro luminaries as sound engineer. Chandeen are friends of the band and they have toured together. This CD and DVD set is a great introduction to a lesser known (at least in the US) Romantic Electro / Darkwave band.
The first track on the CD is Stay, and will be the first video on the new DVD. This heavily electronic song pulses like a dance song, but has the atmosphere of a soundtrack for a European film. Active and muscular, but soft and fluid. Secrets and Dreams, the second track on the CD, is percolating bass synth, and stereo effects with the sweet sexy whisper of a voice on the top--psychedelic dream pop with an edgy center. The video for this song is a live concert video but with a studio sound track--which is fine, and a treat for those who will most likely never get the chance to see the band live. This band seldom performs live any more, and then only in Europe. Track 3, Rain of Gold, is a solid kick from the start--insistent forward shuffle motion, with soft strings blowing through, and the harmonizing vocals describing a warm, gloominess, but is it the wind, a ghost, or a medium that is the narrator? Many songs are sung in French, though LFM are a German band. Some songs are sung in English--depending on the feel or content of the song.
The free DVD contains 9 music videos, and behind the scenes for most of the videos. The band created the videos either themselves, or in concert with various friends.Considering these are the first videos the band have ever made, the results are quite impressive. There is a making of segment for nearly every video, and the 2 members of the band discuss the process in a way in which you really feel like you know who these people are and why they do what they do.
First up : Seek for you -- a nymph in a cage or web, being drained of life force by a dying scientist. Half the song is menacing and slow, then changes to a melancholy harmony, faster, yet restrained. Madjo- is an animated scifi remix of an earlier song into Japanese lyrics. Some YMO influences here. Next is Silence--One of the best videos, and seemingly the simplest. Silence, pronounced and sung in French--is Rhea walking on a beach, with the sea in the background and the music swirling around her. But something is not right about the feel--everything seems slow or out of sorts. The video was shot at double speed, with Rhea lip synching at that speed, and slowed down to match the normal speed of the song. This gives the dreamy feel to an otherwise ordinary setting. The song is very drifty, but that funky bass pulse and synchopated drum beat is there to keep the thing from blowing away. A great use of dynamics, which is one thing most electronic music is lacking. These songs will softly haunt you all day, and you will find yourself singing them to yourself as a warm thing which only you know about. Another gem is the video Salute Jaques -- Noir inspired black and white video, with ghostly French TwinPeaks / Julie Cruise jazz from another place feel. Subtle distorted synth, and Waldorf bass are the backbone of the chorus section of this song. Chanson d'Amour--Filmed in water, with the vocalist surrounded by two winged spirits ( both vocalists for other European Darkwave groups) that change into PVC clad temptresses, and back to spirits again, while Blue Dancers with wild tree-like hair move like serpents in the background. The music fows like a river, with gracefull arpeggios leading the way into another warm, dark place where mysterious things happen.
The rest of the songs all have a mysterious personality of their own--flowing from eerie soundtrack music to dance floor swirl fest. This is what I consider to be the best in artistic, dramatic electronic music that doesn't sound like everything else.
Artist Link: http://www.lafloamaldita.com