Sebastien Tellier is back with Simple Mind, an album made up of stripped back re-editions of his biggest tracks. This latest offering could easily have come straight out of the 80s with its abundance of CP-80, Clavinet and DX7 keyboards. Tellier’s vocal performances are unusual. Singing both in English and French with his signature French accent, the dark low rumble of his voice cuts through the tracks like sunlight on a foggy day. Opening with Domestic Tasks, ominous droning elements veer in and out of focus as a groovy, funk infused clavinet jams away in the background.
Some would say that the version of Look on this album is somewhat lacking compared to the original. With the palm muted guitars and synth pads long gone, we instead get M83 Junk era sounds. We are greeted by a Yamaha DX7 laying the foundation before Tellier’s signature syncopated Yamaha CP-80 joins the ensemble. Pitch shifted notes flutter in the width of the stereo field, creating a lush atmosphere that would be right at home in a melancholic 80s drama.
Intromission speaks the language of Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein with a soft brass arpeggiated on a vintage synthesiser. But that’s as far as language goes, as the lyrics on this track don’t go beyond the word ‘ah’. This is perhaps slightly pretentious, but the beautifully sombre piano that comes in halfway through makes up for this.
Stuck in the past, both in its production and rehashing of past works, Simple Mind is just that: simple. But simplicity is the key to great music!