Responsible for one of the most omniscient tracks of last year (‘A Real Hero’ which featured on Nicholas Winding-Refn’s cult classic Drive), David Grellier – aka College – looks set to continue his trajectory into the big league with the release of his third LP Heritage. The record perhaps doesn’t stray too far from his retro-inspired early work, with Grellier alluding to artists who inspired him as a youngster in the 90s when he gained his first computer, and the result is a pleasing listen which resurrects past decades with aplomb.
With undertones of M83 throughout, College have a knack for crafting cinematic blasts of synth-led futuristic pop. Grellier cites his inspirations as French science fiction artists Moebius and Jean Giraud – but it is another Frenchman, producer Anthony Gonzalez, who the album is clearly indebted to. There is an innocence in the majority of the tracks and the over-riding sense is that Grellier is an artist who is enthralled by his visionary heroes. ‘Frontière’ is a tension-based escapade which sounds as if it is threatening to burst out of your speakers. Other songs – notably ‘Les Automates’ – are altogether different beasts. Shrouded in wonder, the track feels like a dedication to science fiction. The track is given space with its entirely instrumental-based musicianship and the track unmistakably represents the sound of the future.
The majority of the record benefits from Grellier’s intuitive ear for sound. All the tracks are forceful and languid, giving listeners a time to breathe and journey alongside them. The only criticism which can be leveled at the producer is one of not providing enough funk in the same way that, say, Daft Punk have manage to achieve and deliver constantly throughout their career. That constructive comment is redundant and churlish, though, because Grellier clearly has a talent and will continue to build upon his mainstream success following the year he has had.
‘Tempete Magnitique’ and ‘Nouveau Chapitre’ are the best examples of his work – elegantly constructed with bubbling surfaces which threaten to explode in a dark fuzz of noise. Both tracks are incessantly urgent with burgeoning synths and rampaging rhythms. The whole record is melodically impressive, if not a little too one-paced at times, built on the complex textures which Grellier has clearly got a talent for. Whilst the record may not be his break into the charts, it again provides more proof that some of the most avant garde music in modern times is being created on European soil. It’s a deeply intense and rewarding listen, should you decide to take the plunge.
College will play UK shows in September:
23 Leaf, Liverpool
24 Cargo, London
25 The Haunt, Brighton
26 Start The Bus, Bristol