Psychosomatik – the Northern French duo of Michael Roussel and Frederic Lecieux – has with Re/In/Trospective assembled a bevy of new songs, reworked songs, remastered songs, unreleased songs, and oh yes, remixes. With such a large melting pot of content, it might seem to give Re/In/Trospective carte blanche over other releases like State of Oppression or the No Time to Lose/Bullfighter EP.
The popular cache of French EDM artists have typically opted for a more mature tone like that of Cassius, Jean-Michel Jarre, Daft Punk, and Justice; if that seems pretentious or too “adult,” then Psychosomatik may be the caffeinated dark electro you’ve been longing for as it’s quite apparent the creative team enjoys the melodies of their youth. For instance, “Damage Done” and “Carnal Pleasure” are the new tracks and sound deeply planted in late ‘90s soundtrack techno, albeit less grindy and more bouncy with heavy doses of teen angst and under-the-bridge cyberpunk dance-off vibes. SPANKTHENUN’s reworked edit of “The Madman” offers a deep crunch that typifies Eric Hanes’ ubiquitous brand, following a trend of bands turning into production houses that churn out upward to a hundred releases a year. It makes one contemplate what the end result of the multitude of merchandise really is. Is it a coincidence that Re/In/Trospective also feels like a design factory throwing as much music into the ether as possible? Among the previously unreleased tracks, “Check the Numbers” is one of the best on this compilation, featuring the vocals of Olivier Camus and possessing a right evil sound that permeates in and out of the arrangement’s ever-arching tide. On the other hand, “Release Me” has the sound of old acid house and departs from anything else on the album, leaving it as a sort of distant cousin, while “Groundzero” identifies as a newsreel radio bumper, which would be a good thing if it was right before the morning’s traffic, but not so engaging on its own.
Delving into the world of Psychosomatik is figuratively like having 13 different friends thrusting 13 different sounds at you and suddenly realizing they all sound so different yet somehow alike… ultimately, it’s distracting for both reasons. Certain minds will feel the esprit de coeur of Re/In/Trospective, yet it would be so avant-garde of the band to release a more cohesive album in the future.