In his years at the forefront of Paris’ techno underground, François X has always left room for experimentation and emotion. On over a decades worth of releases for labels like DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted House, Marcel Dettmann’s MDR and his own Dement3d Records and XX Lab, techno rhythms roll through minimal, dub and heavier forms, but a consistent emphasis on atmosphere has pointed to an artist whose work thrives as well away from the dancefloor as on it. “[Music] is literally a portal to my feelings, my soul,” François told us in 2019. “I think I am an introverted person who is melting inside, who has a profound desire to express himself. I am full of ideas, passion and feelings that I want to express through music.”
His most recent EP on XX Lab is a perfect demonstration of this idea. His first full solo release since 2019 finds him tapping into sci-fi themes and the concept of dystopian private corporations (think Blade Runner’s Tyrell Corp, Alien’s Weyland Industries, Terminator’s Cyberdyne Systems). While offering some of his heaviest, most club-tuned music in some time, François' use of subtle hip-hop, IDM and pop production techniques makes for an exhilarating series of twists. Robotic FX, his own heavily altered vocal snaps and some seriously psychotropic sound designs merge for a properly pulse-racing EP. Check it out here.
As a DJ, François X takes a similar approach. As a former resident of sorely missed Paris’ club Concrete and a regular at Berghain, he’s learned how to make a dancefloor stomp while keeping listeners very much on their toes, ready for the next left turn. It’s something he captures in his Selections, which takes in 10 techno gems with a trippy, deep and emotional edge. Dig in below.
“What a beautiful piece of IDM music released on the iconic UK label Fat Cat. It's a remix of Bjork's song ‘All Is Full Of Love’ reinterpreted by the German duo Funkstörung. It reminds me a bit of ‘Lilith’, the track she did with Plaid. This ethereal voice combined with syncopated drums – It's so modern and edgy.”
“I met Alex through mutual friends and via Anetha's label Mama Told Ya. This track is a masterpiece; it drives the crowd nuts when I play it. I really like the ironic tone of the vocals and the crazy drum samples. It's a bomb.”
“Wonderful Danish techno, released on Bunkebauer. The groove of this track is so haunted and trippy, I love how it evolves into this kind of voodoo chant. Definitely the kind of techno I'm really into at the moment.”
“Bjarki did it again with his unique and lovely dose of humour. He's one of my favourite producers because he always surprises me with his production twists. So refreshing.”
“My friend Hajj is a true underground hero in Paris. His music is filled with deep emotional moments. The immersive feeling delivered by this track is massive. This is a pure moment of deepness.”
“I've known Emma DJ for a long time and witnessed his development as an artist. This track released on his album ‘Godrime’ reminds me a bit of John Hassell, replacing the trumpet with this lamented voice. Love it.”
“A deep and modern percussive track that unfolds into an edgy type of techno. I love the futuristic sound of Vel, especially the drums which sometimes sound like nothing else. Trippy!”
“Give me a Reese bass and I'm your man. I love the ‘90s feeling we get on this track. The Lobster Theremin boss is on roll at the moment, delivering banger after banger. ‘Scaled Down’ is a massive dancefloor destroyer.”
“I don't know much about this artist I've discovered on Bandcamp but he represents the perfect combination of the music I 'm fond of: Chicago jacking drums combined with booty hooks. This banger is massive: the beat, the stab alert… It's an anthem.”
“Big up to my man NOVA CHEQ. Amazing how this guy is delivering so much good music at the moment. He deserves a gold medal. Shout out to him on this track, it's an absolute gem!”