The vocoder is a severely under-appreciated instrument. Present throughout the history of dance music and beyond everyone from Kraftwerk to Chromeo and Daft Punk to Dr Dre has utilised the ol’ talk box to enhance their sound. Despite this, it’s still an underdog, all too often forgotten about or mistaken for plain old autotune. However, there’s one nation that has embraced the vocoder with open arms, France. From aforementioned Daft Punk to the pounding beats of Justice, the combination of a vocoder and a French accent has become timeless, dare I say, iconic.
It’s a tradition multi-instrumentalist Jean Tonique recognises well, using the instrument to conjure mechanical melancholy on his new single ‘Feel Better Now’. A delicately funk-laden single, ‘Feel Better Now’ is both innately danceable and sombre, pulling in moments of choral harmony, euro-pop nostalgia and subtle hints of suave disco-tinged psychedelia as it bubbles along.
Premiering today on Notion, it’s the first taste of his upcoming debut album Well Mannered Frivolity, which is due out in February this year. Alongside the track, Tonique is also premiering a first look at the music video for ‘Feel Better Now’, a surreal detective story that drops the audience in midway through the story and leaves them to put together the pieces as Tonique and his accomplices uncover a mass of brightly-tracksuited teenagers piled up in a hidden room of a vast French mansion. The first of two parts to drop before Will Mannered Frivolity is released, we can’t wait to watch/ listen to the sequel. Watch the video for ‘Feel Better Now’ below.
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