Thursday, 6 December 2018

Bars en Trans 2018: Some highlights

Rennes is a hive of activity for French music this weekend, with the Transmusicales festival showcasing some of the finest emerging acts from France and elsewhwhere.

Acts like Jeanne Added. Moodoid, Grand Blanc and Benjamin Clementine are among those who have emerged to mainstream recognition from appearances at the event.

But the city also hosts a more grass-roots event, the Bars en Trans festival that sees dozens of acts playing at bars, clubs and other small venues across the city.

Some of the acts are local, from Rennes and elsewhere in Brittany, others from further afield in France and beyond.

In terms of genre, there's the widest possible cross section, with intreging listings like techno-indus/Rennes and chanson brute primative/Metz rubbing shoulders with rap/Paris, rock/Lille and electro/Saint-Etienne.

There are more acts playing than it's physically possible to get to over a few days, but here are a few of them. I'll feature a few more in the next couple of days.

Camp Claude are fine ambassadors of new French pop. They're bright, sharp and smarter than they might first appear. Hugely enjoyable and they deserve to be the official soundtrack for the French summer.

Taxi Kebab present an intoxicating proposition with their psych-flavoured melange of electronics and guitar, a flavour of heavy north African drones and diorientating sonics. If the Master Musicians of Joujouka grew up listening to Aphex Twin it might sound something like this.

Sweet pop vocals and a backdrop of dark trip hop electronics from UTO, a classy duo from Ivry-sur-Seine.

Agapé produces a sharp and smart electronic informed R & B, flavoured with tropical urban beats and chilled vocals.

Mauvais Œil are recent signings to Disque Enterprise, home of Bagarre, Grand Blanc and Moodoid, all acts that gained a lot of attention from festival performances in Rennes. There's something of a gothic indie rock spirit here, with an arabic psyche flavour. Very impressive.

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