Ali Renault is one of my favourite producers working right now. Formerly one half of the ace Italo revivalists Heartbreak he has been building a reputation over the last few years with his solo techno-disco outings on labels like Moustache and Dissident, and now he has just dropped his excellent debut album for the London label Cyber Dance.
Renault’s heavily Italo-influenced sound is clean and crisp, but with a tangible sense of creeping dread, like that point on a night out when you notice the sun has come up and your high is beginning to wear off. It’s what might happen if you took the synths of Claudio Simonetti, slow them down to a warped ketamine crawl and lock them in a wardrobe with Michael Myers. It’s not nearly as hellish as that makes it sound - in a way it’s kind of comforting, like the knowledge that someday you are going to die. It’s no surprise to learn that Renault’s formative musical influences as a teenager were both metal and techno.
“I like using old cheap hardware and I enjoy trying to evoke a dark mood with machines” he says. Renault’s self-titled debut album is 8 tracks of what he describes as “detective-noir” and will appeal to fans of golden age John Carpenter, classic Detroit techno, Garth Merenghi re-runs and the darker side of Italo disco. This isn’t music designed to impress with tricks and technology, it has a cleanliness of form and a melodic richness that is unique and brilliant. You can download the excellent “Pagan Run” from the 20 Jazz Funk Greats blog at this link (highly recommended), and here’s a download of the track “Promises”, courtesy of Mixmag:
And here’s another album track, “Dignitas Machine”:
Ali Renault performs “Zombie Raffle” live at Magic Waves festival 2010: