Bagarre – Le gouffre (Yan Wagner Belgian Trip)
The revival of the late 1980s New Beat sound has simmered below the surface of a variety of Underground trends for a while now. Returning at a lower tempo, its releases retain the squalling synths that crown the jolting sound. YouTube channel, label & party promoter Les Yeux Orange (translated as Orange Eyes), has been a notable supplier of tracks that fall under such strain. Proponents of the sound pushed by the French group include Romanian duo Khidja and Moscow-hailing Simple Symmetry, amongst many others. Yan Wagner’s Belgian Trip remix of Bagarre’s electroclash-inspired ‘Le Gouffre’ original is a copybook example of the modern take on the Belgian sound.
The track establishes a cadence from the get-go, with a high-cutoff synth that glazes over the kick. A quintessential reverb-infused snare and clap combo drub with no remorse. The evolving collection of high-pitch synths intermingle to create a symphony that feels Middle-Eastern inspired. However, Wagner restrains himself from ample modulation that would borrow heavily from Acid Arab’s toolkit. The vocals that enter around the three minute mark are irregular in delivery. Providing tremendous inflection, they remind of the Robotiko Rejekto’s 1987 EBM classic ‘Rejekto!‘. Reflective of the track’s spirit, Bagarre translates as brawl, while ‘Le Gouffre’ means the gulf. With a breakdown that scales down to a single element outside of percussions, the structuring of 101’s ‘Rock To The Beat‘ is dexterously applied. The end result is a sirenic admix of chaotic sounds that have been blended to chill the spine.
To those who’ve come across his Indie Rock releases before, it may come as a surprise that Wagner has likewise contributed to the low-slung, sluggish interpretation of the Belgian sound. The French-American artist’s career can be compared with Roosevelt‘s, who has similarly transcended the boundaries of what’s often been seen as a singer/song-writer & electronic music producer juxtaposition. While previously flirting with New Order-like synthscapes in ‘Changed‘, his recent releases such as ‘Daily Dose‘ align closer to Cut Copy than Red Axes. Reissued on vinyl by Enterprise this year, his ‘Le Gouffre’ remix leaves us hoping that Wagner will continue to pursue his experimental side.