How to create art with French Touch and Electro Swing. Album review: The Swing Bot – ‘Art Disco’
I probably don’t need to remind you that one of my favourite genres of music is French Touch, a subgenre of house music with strong disco (and sometimes funk) influences. I don’t know how the French do it, but in my opinion, they are the best at making electronic music. It’s no wonder that many artists are still inspired by top French Touch artists such as Cassius, Daft Punk, Étienne de Crécy, Justice or C2C.
Among these Electro Swing artists, who take their cue from the best in this field of music, are the brilliant band Lamuzgueule (you can read a review of their single ‘PLEINS PHARES’ HERE) and The Swing Bot (who, by the way, took an active part in the production of the track ‘PLEINS PHARES’, by the way). Today, I’m just going to tell you about The Swing Bot, or rather his latest album, ‘Art Disco’, which was released on the UK label Freshly Squeezed Music.
I took a look at the tracks from the ‘Art Disco’ album and found that several of them were released as singles in 2018 (‘Coquette’), 2019 (‘Waves of 84’) and throughout 2021 and 2022. We can only guess that it was the pandemic that delayed the release of ‘Art Disco’. However, take my word for it – it was worth waiting so long! In this section, we will focus on the first half of the album (actually the first seven tracks), as all these songs were released as singles between 2018 and 2022.
The album opens with ‘Waves of 84’ (this track already has almost 4 million streams on Spotify, wow!). The theme you will hear there is very familiar to all fans of classic swing. The samples come from Lew Stone and Al Bowlly’s 1932 song ‘My Woman’.
I read on Spotify’s BIO The Swing Bot that he takes inspiration from Parov Stelar in his musical work, in addition to the French Touch trend. Well, I have to admit that when listening to the album ‘Art Disco’, it is impossible not to notice this. I can hear these influences, among others, in ‘About You’ (ah, that trumpet totally enchants and delights me!) and in ‘The Tailor’ (this song harmonises so well with the aforementioned ‘Waves of 84’ that, in my opinion, it could be the album’s opening song).
In my opinion, the best track on this part (and probably even on the whole “Art Disco”) is “Burlesque Distortion”. The brilliant electronic theme, the excellent effects superimposed on the vocals and the Electro Swing melody that runs through almost the entire song is a real treat for French Touch fans. I recommend it wholeheartedly!
How could I describe the next ten tracks of the “Art Disco” album in a nutshell? A total mish-mash! You will find everything here: from French Touch at a high level, to excellent Electro Swing, pop, disco, house and jazz.
“Flowers”… well, this is a really great song, full of a summer vibe, with a delectable bass, captivating melodies flowing from the trumpet and cool, warm vocals. The Swing Bot is consistent in its choice of song sequence and ‘French Dressing’ is an extension of this mood, although here the piano sound clearly dominates, interspersed with the already slightly melancholic trumpet.
I really like the seamless transition between ‘Night Callin” and ‘Gram Off On’, and in my opinion, it is at this point that The Swing Bot proves to us how brilliantly he combines house (or rather French Touch) with brilliant swing samples and electronic music elements. Anyway, with both ‘Night Callin” and “Next to Me” (interesting fact: in the second half of this track you’ll hear samples from Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing”!), I feel like I’ve been transported back to the beginning of the first decade of the 21st century and in a moment Benny Benassi will appear on stage, supported by The Swing Bot with his DJ set. Because in my opinion, ‘Art Disco’ is simply a ready-made DJ set that house fans will have a great time with.
I believe in the principle that it is not art to be inspired by another artist’s work. The art is to create your own unique style, taking cues from those you consider masters in their field. The Swing Bot have perfectly developed their own unique sound throughout their career, and ‘Art Disco’ is an art in itself that is worth appreciating.
And I strongly encourage you to do so, while pointing out that you may need to listen to this album several times to be fully convinced.
Written & reviewed by LadyDot (Ja, Wizeruk) Date: 2023-03-20
Anna (LadyDot) was born in ’94, but always felt she came from the Golden Twenties. “Polka” in Polish means “girl from Poland”, so she’s “Polka in polka dots”. She loves vintage style and spontaneous travels around Europe. But her greatest love (apart from her husband) is of course music, especially Electro Swing.
On her own Blog www.jawizeruk.pl she writes about various music genres. She is a copywriter, so writing is her strong point. Anna likes singing (not only in the shower!) and cooking (especially Italian and Hungarian cuisine).