Genetic World’s futuristic melange of sounds, styles and beats is shaped further by an offbeat variety of international guest vocalists -- from stars of Berlin’s electroclash underground Peaches and Chilly Gonzales to ethereal Scottish chanteuse Angela McCluskey to British rapper-poet Soda-Pop of Dirty Beatniks.
The overseas press has quickly taken note of Genetic World’s abundant charms. DJ magazine awarded the album five stars, suggesting that Telepopmusik "defies any set parameters, coming up with a selection as fresh and attention-grabbing as probably nothing you’ve heard before….If anyone deserves nominations for this year’s ‘Album of…’ accolades, then these guys sure as hell are on good odds at the moment." Music Week called it an "effortlessly cool dance album," NME tagged it as "perfect genetically modified house," and Fono said, "France has provided some of the most interesting and innovative electronic music to appear in recent years and it looks like the next big thing is likely to be the excellent Telepopmusik."
Meanwhile, both Mixmag and Muzik gave Genetic World’s hypnotic first single "Breathe" four stars, calling it "a right royal beauty of a record" and "a glorious piece of electronic soul, sure to be lining [DJ] boxes for a long time to come."
Genetic World lives up to the advance billing: Telepopmusik’s core trio of Fabrice Dumont, Stephan Haeri, and Christophe Hetier (aka DJ Anti-Pop) combine traditional musical skills gleaned from writing songs in acclaimed indie-pop bands like Autour de Lucie (Dumont was a founding member) with a fearless taste for exploration into electronic music’s shape-shifting universe. According to Anti-Pop, the idea was " to create a collective like Massive Attack. Before we were in bands that had only one singer, so there was this idea of being free and open to different possibilities. Now we can explore anything from deep house to ‘80s electro to more downtempo and abstract rhythms."
Within Genetic World, Angela McCluskey’s gossamer vocals and existential lyrics glide over subtle house beats on "Breathe;" U.K. rapper Juice Aleem (of acclaimed Ninja Tune/Big Dada act New Flesh) spits out rhymes over folk-rock jangle on "Animal;" Soda-Pop aka Mau of Brit dance oddballs Dirty Beatniks tweaks "Trishika" with spoken word insanity; and the notoriously sharp-tongued Peaches and Chilly Gonzalez add their irreverent raps to "Let’s Go Again."
"I was Dj’ing at a Peaches and Chilly show in Paris, and Chilly came up and told me he really liked my mix," Anti-Pop explains. "As for Mau, Someone sent us a tape of him performing a poem he wrote, which we turned into ‘Trishika.’ He doesn’t really rap, he doesn’t really sing; he has his own style, which is crazy – and perfect. As for Angela, we met when my former band was playing in New York on the same bill as her band, the Wild Colonials. At one point, they did a Billie Holiday cover and she sounded incredibly spot-on. We wanted a voice that sounded like the ‘50s, so we brought her to Paris. She brings humanity and soul to Telepop. We kept all her first takes, sampled them, and made new melodies. When she heard the album, she didn’t recognize the melodies she made!"
According to Anti-Pop, the group’s formation was "an accident." The three met while they were playing in France’s indie-rock scene -- Dumont with the acclaimed Autour de Lucie, Anti-Pop with Bel Air, and Haeri with Planet Zen. In 1997 they were approached to contribute a song to a compilation from SourceLab, the legendary label where Air got its start. Foregoing their guitars, the three grabbed a sampler and spent the weekend banging out their contribution, "Sonic 75."
The results nabbed the trio a recording contract and Telepopmusik was born -- with Dumont handling arrangements and sonic architecture; Haeri, trained as a sound engineer in electro-acoustics, building their nuanced house of sounds; and Hetier, in his DJ Anti-Pop guise, forging grooves out of scratches and random snatches of spoken-word (like the Japanese professor ranting about his search for the brain of Einstein on "Dance Me").
"In our former bands we were playing pop music – always the same," says Anti-Pop. "But now we’ll play instruments and sample ourselves, so there’s a balance between electronic and human elements. It’s like discovering a new instrument." Such is Telepopmusik’s operating philosophy, demonstrated by Genetic World’s title (a nod to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World). "The whole process of modifying these sounds is like a genetic world," Anti-Pop says. "When you modify a song, it’s like you’re modifying its DNA."
Prepare to get altered……