Release Date: Feb 26, 2013
Record label: Mercury
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Neo-Electro
“The year was 1986” (or did I just hear “1980-sex”?). So begins Outrun, the new LP by French electronica composer Vincent Belorgey, aka Kavinsky, marking yet another return to his beloved running concept—you know, that whole thing of when a guy meets a car, then dies, and returns to Earth as a high-speed-specter. Belorgey, who’s been releasing music as Kavinsky since 2005’s Teddy Boy, most recently ascended to the limelight after being featured in 2011’s mega-cult indie film, Drive.
Cheesy soft-rock guitars, guest spots from Lovefoxxx and Havoc from Mobb Deep, a storyline straight from a horror B-movie: this album really shouldn’t work. That it does is down to Kavinsky’s painstaking production and his dark vision of the place where rock and electro meet. Years touring with Daft Punk have made a deep impression, and Kavinsky has created a glossy synth sound that’s undercut with a sinister edge.
KavinskyOutrun[Mercury; 2013]By Zachary Corsa; March 20, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetWhat is it about nostalgia that so appeals to modern man, especially those who fancy themselves connoisseurs of 'art and culture?' Humans are reputed to be a forward-thinking species, driven by ambition and the restless of pursuit of future, unconquered horizons. Instead, as global culture accelerates in often alienating and frightening ways, we find ourselves gazing in reverse, fetishizing childhoods and technologies of halcyon days past. Eventually, that nostalgia becomes its own echoing tape loop, and some artists seem to exist on nostalgia alone, a lighter-than-air fabrication of nothing more than the tropes of old, refashioned to appeal to an audience jaded enough to cast a glance backwards as they reluctantly, uncertainly slip forward.
Getting all the minor complaints out of the way, Kavinsky's 2013 album Outrun is a limited listen with a handful of highlights that were made available previously, but such is life for the fast and futuristic. The grand concept here isn't that grand after all, as French house producer Vincent Belorgay's project/character Kavinsky crashed his Testarossa in 1986, and then reappeared as a zombie in 2006 in order to make electro and show off his racing skills in animé-like videos. Apparently, Giorgio Moroder, Sega video game soundtracks, and the original TRON soundtrack were all the cassettes available to the pre-zombie Kavinsky.
Pretty much any kid who grew up amongst the sensory assault of the arcade in the late 80s and early 90s will at some point have succumbed to the allure of Outrun; a racing game that brazenly disobeyed The Highway Code and only offered about five minutes of play to even the best of gamers (the majority instead falling victim to its incredibly steep learning curve long before that). But it did come in a really cool (to pre-pubescent eyes at least) half-chassis cabinet and let you choose your own tinny soundtrack with a turn of the steering wheel. So, with its arguable progeny already eulogised in the form of The Cardigans’ Gran Turismo, it was surely only a matter of time before someone gave Outrun its own musical tribute.
French electronic musician Kavinsky knows something about what makes a great action movie soundtrack: His song "Nightcall" is as synonymous with Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive as scorpion jackets and hot pink brush fonts. While it was written and released before Drive was filmed, the song's perfect placement in the film, and the recognition that it brought Kavinsky's way, seem to have inspired him to replicate it. His new album Outrun isn't attached to a picture, but it's meant to tell the story of a lovelorn young man in the mid-1980s who, through some magical auto accident, becomes some sort of zombie man/car hybrid...
You remember Kavinsky’s “NightCall”, the song playing over the opening credits of 2011’s Drive. Its slow-synths offered a succinct nighttime portrait of downtown Los Angeles, just as much as Tangerine Dream’s opening score set the mood in Michael Mann’s Chicago-based Thief. The neon lights that illuminate both films make their way into the digital world of Kavinsky’s debut LP, OutRun.
MySpace friends are a bit like your old school friends. Because of those status updates, the blog posts, and them photo galleries were self-shot, there was a new form intimacy, which allowed humans to gawp across the digital divide. Distance became confused, and space and time went a bit Back to the Future... Everyone was equal: famous, genuine friend or just notorious on your favourite online forum, it didn’t matter, we could see right inside someone’s head and glimpse the detritus of their lives in the background of their shots.