Chronique | Larsovitch - ΣΥΝΘ

Pierre Sopor 2 avril 2024

With its debut EP, first released at the end of 2023 then reissued at the beginning of 2024 with an extra track, Larsovitch brandishes its influences: first of all, there's the anachronism of an artwork that lends itself well to a cassette edition and a title, ΣΥΝΘ (synth) that also cultivates the linguistic offset... while making little secret of the tastes of Théo, the Montpellier-based artist behind the project. The keys are given: he likes analog synthesizers and artists from the Greek and Russian minimal and darkwave scenes (we can think, in bulk, of Selofan, Molchat Doma or Ploho).

In addition to the minimalism and coldness of the references mentioned above, there's a strangely organic humanity to this debut EP, which imposes itself in this electronic universe from Konputa onwards, where the reverb and low vocals manage to summon up a certain melancholy specific to cold wave before Moy Stakan's chiptune sounds lighten the mood. We appreciate the thickness brought to the drum machine by Καρδιές's guitar but also its discordant and almost deathrock madness. Larsovitch's playful retro-futuristic approach doesn't prevent tension, particularly during the raging single Skasé, which pokes post-punk for its sense of urgency and EBM for its sweat-inducing physical rhythms.

But there's another discrepancy, too, with this music that overplays its slightly old-fashioned codes and its energy that's both communicative and festive: we often sense a form of respectful amusement in the midst of lyrics that are nonetheless furious and contemporary. Larsovitch respects the codes but isn't afraid to play with them a little and let the fun creep in, as in the last part of Dogoz, with its reverb-laden autotune and minimalist 8-bit rave interlude contrasting with the rest of the more raucous track. At what point does homage become pastiche? We'll leave you to debate, and to tell you the truth, we don't really care: it works just fine that way, like the strange anthem Béton Armé, an addition to the tracklist justifying the EP's re-release, not far from the darkest tracks by Daisy Mortem, other adepts of the acrobatic leap between the de rigueur jaded pout, sincere approach and interstellar off-beatness. Imagine for a moment that in 2024, you're allowed to shake the goths while fiddling with your autotune!

In the end, that's where the EP hits the nail on the head, with its self-assured approach that never feels like a phoney posturing. There's enough raw emotion and guts in there to believe in and embrace. The fire that drives the musician heats up his machines, and his attitude of a brat free of the rules ensures a certain modernity despite the weight of nostalgia, but also, and above all, gives Larsovitch that slightly nasty delightful side. The icy dryness of the drum machine and synths doesn't prevent the music from having a real bite: Larsovitch boosts our energy with vigour and imposes his personality. It's as cool as it is surprisingly subtle in its imbalances.