There is no longer any need to demonstrate the benefits brought by the French Touch movement to the generations of French artists that followed it. That "name certifying the excellence of a French product which works in France or overseas" as Ludovic Houplain from Studio H5 defined it, made its mark on a second generation in the 2010s, after having influenced, liberated, or antagonized a first generation beforehand.
The labels from that prior generation began to divide up: Institubes, for example, led to Para One's Marble on the one hand and Sound Pellegrino with Teki Latex on the other. And a new generation managed to stir things up: Brodinski and Bromance, Gesaffelstein… until Daft Punk's return to the top brought this first period to a close, clearing the way for another generation to bring in a more tropical form of house. Listen to the most significant tracks of this transition toward French Touch 3.0.
1. M83 – Midnight City (2011, Naïve)
In 2004, Nicolas Fromageau quit M83 after five years in the band, leaving Anthony Gonzalez to pursue his budding career, notably with this international hit featuring a strident chorus which unleashes a romantic power that is unreservedly French. The music video was made by Fleur & Manu (full names Fleur Fortuné and Emmanuel Cossu), who were trained at the H5 collective, which gave French Touch its visuals from the 90s onward. They have made other videos for M83 as well as Gesaffelstein, Etienne de Crécy, Sébastien Tellier, Skrillex, and Drake.
Para One - When The Night (feat. Jaw)
2. Para One – When The Night (feat. Jaw) (2012, Marble)
Para One bounced back after the closure of Institubes in 2011 by setting up Marble the same year, with Surkin and Bobmo. On When The Night, he weaves a synthetic funk backdrop for the warm vocals of Jaw—singer with the troublesome trio dOP, affiliated with the label Circus Company. Parisians Thomas Subreville and Leonard Vernhet from Ill Studio made a very adult music video for a night where anything going. Marble stayed operational until 2015.
Dinosaurs With Guns
3. Teki Latex – Dinosaurs With Guns (2010, Sound Pellegrino)
Teki Latex set up the label Sound Pellegrino with Orgasmic in 2009. The former member of rap trio TTC, known for his mocking tone, fine tunes a culture of musical collision which he continues to this day, blending hip hop, house, and more acid trends, drawn from as far away as Japan. Dinosaurs With Guns has a collage based video made by BM&Fils, perfectly suited to this track, which is reminiscent of electro funk and the early days of rap.
Let The Beat Control Your Body
4. Brodinski Feat. Louisahhh!!! – Let The Beat Control Your Body (2011, Bromance Records)
The incomparably elegant Brodinski, originally from Reims, emerged onto the scene in Paris nurtured by another Reims native—Yuksek—as well as Pedro Winter and DJ Mehdi. In 2011, he set up his own label, Bromance, from which Let the Beat Control Your Body is the best known tune. Vocals were provided by Louisahhh!!!, a New York DJ who moved to Paris. The label's name comes, of course, from the combination of brother and romance—a bond he shared with his electro bro Gesaffelstein until Brodi turned more toward rap and the Atlanta scene.
Pursuit by Gesaffelstein and 2013
5. Gesaffelstein – Pursuit (2013, Parlophone)
Hailing from Lyon, Gesaffelstein dresses impeccably, reminding us somewhat of Gainsbourg in his early days, bringing real elegance to the French Touch movement, which until then had generally shuffled around in sneakers. His techno is surgical with dry beats, as on the breathless Pursuit, a single from this first album, Aleph, in 2013. Once again, the duo Fleur & Manu were responsible for the music video, filmed as a continuous take. An emblematic figure of this new wave of French talent, Gesa contributed to the production of Kanye West's Yeezus, alongside Brodinski and Daft Punk, later also doing the same for The Weeknd.
Sebastien Tellier - Cochon Ville
6. Sébastien Tellier – Cochon Ville (2012, Record Makers)
Cochon Ville marked Sébastien Tellier's return to esoteric grandeur. For his concept album My God Is Blue, he took on the persona of a guru at the center of a Blue Alliance! Production was by Mr Flash, a musician from the Ed Banger label, as well as Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo from Daft Punk on My Poseidon. Alexandre Courtes, who was behind the video for Cassius 1999, created a pretty steamy pagan festival revolving around Guru Tellier for Cochon Ville.
Bye Bye Macadam
7. Rone – Bye Bye Macadam (2013, inFiné)
Up and coming French electro prodigy Rone came to light thanks to the support of proactive label inFiné, based between Lyon and Paris. Bye Bye Macadam is the second single from his second album Tohu Bohu, released in 2013, on which his composition utilizes a sonic palette as colorful and dreamlike as the tones a painter might employ. The animated music video was created by Dimitri Stankowicz.
8. Daft Punk – Get Lucky (2013, Columbia)
Does anybody really need an introduction to Get Lucky? The first single from the global hit album Random Access Memories in 2013, it created a level of anticipation barely seen since the days of Michael Jackson. The album smashed all records, compelling stars to get up and dance—from Paul McCartney and Ringo Star of The Beatles to Jay-Z and Beyoncé—in front of their reconstructed studio when they performed the track at the Grammy Awards in 2014. On stage alongside them were Stevie Wonder and two of the album's guest artists, Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams. They won five Grammys for the album, perhaps bringing the first era of French Touch to a proper conclusion, leaving the door wide open for a much younger generation to walk through. And we've been waiting for the two robots to return ever since!
La Lune Rousse
9. Fakear – La Lune Rousse (2016, Universal)
With La Lune Rousse and its patchwork video directed by photography students from Parisian visual arts school Les Gobelins, Fakear belongs to the young generation of French musicians who are taking electronic music and creating a brand-new French Touch out of it. His sounds are more ethereal, willingly incorporating non-Western instruments, inviting the listener to embark on journeys and to dream.
10. Polo & Pan – Plage Isolée (2015, Ekler’O’Shock)
Polo & Pan, both older, came to music later in life, sharing the same desire for sun, exotism, and frivolity, which has brought them success all over the world. The lyrics on Plage Isolée are in French, which is unusual enough on France's electronic music scene to be remarked upon. The video features animations of beautiful floral and animal collages by the artist couple Noemi Ferst and Benjamin Moreau.
11. Kungs vs Cookin' on 3 Burners – This Girl (2016, Barclay)
Kungs is one of the youngest French producers, along with Petit Biscuit. When he released This Girl in the spring of 2016, he had not yet turned 20. With its brass riff and soul vocals, it was an immediate hit, creating a sense of déjà vu at Barclay, more than 15 years after Modjo's Lady (Hear me Tonight). The video revolves around a young couple on an island, the work of an American living in Paris, Matt Larson, who is used to big open spaces.
Dans La Radio
12. Jacques – Dans La Radio (2016, Pain Surprises Records)
A new firebrand on the French scene, Jacques seems to enjoy being a bit of a spoilsport. He spends his time re-evaluating everything, even core questions like the way to produce music, which he makes out of anything that falls into his hands. A talented all-rounder, he travels the world sporting a distinctive haircut, going against the trend for closely cropped sides at the time this record came out. Vincent Castant produced the psychedelic video for this track.
13. Kid Francescoli – Moon (2017, Yotanka)
Kid Francescoli has been making electronic music in Marseille since 2002. Since the rise of the internet and streaming, his light, cinematographic sounds have enjoyed greater success. Sharing a studio with other Marseille based producers, like French 79, his career accelerated when his 2017 track Moon with its gimmicky "and it went like…" went viral on Tiktok in late 2019, even being shared by the likes of Jennifer Lopez.
Into The Light ft. Isaac Delusion
14. Yuksek – Into The Light ft. Isaac Delusion (2020, Partyfine)
This Reims born producer now based in Paris set up his own label, Partyfine, in 2013, signing acts like Get A Room, Tepr, and Jean Tonique. He also produces on other labels for well-known artists such as Birdy Nam Nam, Breakbot, Corrine, Clara Luciani, and Zazie. In 2020, he released his new album Nosso Ritmo, which indulged his liking for Balearic disco, especially on Into The Light, produced jointly with Isaac Delusion and featuring the crazily high voice of singer Loïc Fleury.
Together We Stand
15. Myd – Together We Stand (2020, Ed Banger)
In 2020, producer Myd has become increasingly prominent through videos featuring gawky dance moves, with a level of coolness to rival The Dude in The Big Lebowski. Myd is a part of the Club Cheval collective, founded in Lille in 2009 by the producers Canblaster, Myd, and Pantero666, all of whom pursue their own solo careers. Since signing with Ed Banger, Myd has been letting his hair down and has not stopped dancing to his sun-soaked funk. Could Pedro Winter have a hand in this?