Before electroclash's moment in the media sun, hardly anyone gave a shit about electro. But four years into a revival that shows no signs of subsiding, the hybrid of techno and hip-hop -- with the minimalist palette and a whole universe of emotions in the memory bank of the Roland 808 drum machine -- keeps accounting for some of the best roiling funk tracks throttling the dance floors. And now, its longtime practitioners are sharing in the fruits, while gleefully dissing the bandwagon-jumpers.
The Toulouse, France-based label Invasion Planete has this sort of cantankerous attitude: Think of its self-branded "European Third Wave" as one of electro's own hardcore scenes. No costumes or marketing concepts, just the retro-futuristic, cyber-bubblegum booty music that simultaneously bucks trends and furthers them. Not that tracks like It & My Computer's "Wannabe" (with its fashionista chorus refrain of "I wanna be famous") wouldn't sound perfectly at home next to Fischerspooner or Peaches instrumentals (actually, Devo's more like it). But IP roster residents like Le Syndicat Electronique, Porn.Darstellar, and Raison Future -- all of whom are playing live sets on this, the label's first full-fledged American tour -- don't make a point of retaining stereotypes nearly as much as they're perfecting a new sort of musical straight edge, equal parts revolutionary and celebratory.