A burst of dark and danceable bliss emanates from France, thanks to duo Potochkine, whose self-titled EP comes out on Data Airlines on Sunday. Though each composition is minimal — leaning heavily on just a few tools, such as thick synth arpeggiations, clean and simple drum machine parts, and raw vocals — the impact is complex, massive, and memorable.
Each note or rhythm played, generated, and sung is packed with an unbridled emotional connection down to the atomic level — an icy fire bathed in sweat. Even if you don’t understand French, you’ll be on the same wavelength with each of the seven tracks as members Pauline and Hugo travel across the spectrum of EBM, minimal techno, electroclash, coldwave, synth scores, and synth-punk in a theatrical blitz of human expression.
I’ll call out a couple highlights from Potochkine’s EP, but really the best way to experience Potochkine is to listen to the release as a whole. It’s really the only true way to understand it.
On “Jumeaux,” which means “twins” in French, there’s a windy calm that kicks off everything before foreboding gives way to a cinematic dance number that deftly peels away the layers of pretense in any room in which its played. The disco drums are tight, providing a suspenseful base over which heavy, rhythmic arps; spectral synth leads; and chanteuse Pauline’s vocals invoke a dark and cold evisceration of the senses. The build toward complete metamorphosis of the self is something to be mindful of when listening to this number. (The song is available here on Vehlinggo a few days before release, for your listening pleasure.)
“Narcisse” is an instrumental with a serpentine quality — replete with reverberated rattles and white noise that surround an interplay of uncomplicated but powerful synth parts that layer up to create a haunting score cue for a horror film not yet made. As the EP’s closer, it leaves the high-energy release on a subdued and ominous tone, although maybe it’s just the cool-down after such a visceral experience of catharsis.