Background music to dance to
French electronica has a lot to answer. The announcement of Daft Punk’s retirement last February after nearly three decades of creating club and pop anthems has become one of the greatest musical stories of 2021. Jean Michel Jarre, Laurent Garnier, Étienne de Crécy, DJ Falcon, Justice, Phoenix, M83, Air and Cassius all also hail from our closest neighbor in the EU.
Teen Daze is the musical alias of Canadian electronic artist Jamison Isaak, who became obsessed with music videos by these artists as a teenager. Isaak is also inspired by house, glitch, ambient, indie pop and everything you experience yourself. Since 2010, he regularly publishes releases and attracts the attention of Pitchfork.
Interior, which Isaak describes as “an album of first loves refracted through prisms of wisdom, hurt and wonder”, is a smooth and silky distillation of his sound. The first single Swimming is a hypnotic slice of sweet ambient house on a propulsive glitch-style beat.
For the most part, the interior glides pleasantly at a comforting and steady pace. It’s not a collection of dancefloor bangers or some other lying ambient odyssey, but inhabiting a sweet spot somewhere in between. Isaak himself describes it quite precisely as background music that you can dance to.
Interior also features elements of chillwave, an absurdly nicknamed musical micro-genre that emerged in the late 2000s mimicking 1980s electropop and designed to purposefully evoke nostalgic feelings. Teen Daze’s 2015 album Morning World was produced by John Vanderslice (who was responsible for a controversial track called Bill Gates Must Die) and featured more indie pop sensibilities and Isaac’s own voice. This places him alongside David Holmes and the late Andy Weatherall as DJs and producers who have become confident enough to sing with their own voices.
Speaking of vocals, Montreal electropop artist Cecile Believe (formerly known as Mozart’s Sister) appears at 2 a.m. (Real Love). To date, Teen Daze’s profile has mostly been confined to the North American and Canadian sides of the Atlantic with a few sporadic appearances in major international dance music centers such as Berlin, Tokyo and London. It remains to be seen whether this very prolific artist, who has released no less than 10 albums and dozens of EPs, is starting to resonate with a global audience.
The interior does not reinvent the wheel or match the inventive heights of the aforementioned Gallic giants, although it does drive well, providing a home listening experience reminiscent of better times and sunnier climates in a gloomy winter. .