Listening to Turzi Électronique Expérience is quite an unexpectedly nostalgic venture. Each note feels as if it’s been borrowed from somewhere familiar. For a fleeting moment it evokes Arabian Nights, then transforms into ‘Venus in Furs’ followed by 80s electronica, and finally it embraces classic rock through the lens of French folk.
Musician and composer, Romain Turzi, has created a pastiche of genre, transcending the boundaries of sound, era, and convention. Essentially you can picture the opening track over film of the Vietnam War, an Andy Warhol short, or a modern narrative on India. It sounds old-fashioned enough to be convinced that it sounds like a musical experiment from the 1960s, but it’s also novel in its ability to look backward and forward simultaneously.
Romain Turzi found his sound when, in 2000, he performed solo under the name Turzi Électronique Expérience with the Yamaha Tenori-On, a device which had only become available several months before. The equipment allows the musician to control as many synths as he has fingers on each hand! Handy, no doubt, for Turzi’s exploration. From that moment on, his fascination with digital sounds only intensified. To this day his shows employ instruments of vintage technology, a musical oxymoron of innovation.
Since Turzi’s connection to the Yamaha Tenori-On, critics have classified his work as krautrock and French psych. He dislikes the comparisons because they suggest that the genres have not progressed and he hopes only to move his music forward, but he does admit to a touch of inspiration from Kraftwerk. He’s signed to Record Makers label, which boasts acts like Air and fellow Frenchman, Sebastien Tellier.
There’s buzz that Turzi will lead the renaissance of French psych with the striking, strange carnival that is The Turzi Electronique Experience. It’s a mind-opening and curious ride, so hop aboard the Turzi train and tune into this extra-exclusive mix he’s whipped-up for i-D online.
Turzi Électronique Expérience’s new album Education is now available for download.
Text: Lily Avnet