Having missed the electro boat back in the early 2000s Franck Rivoire’s debut album, ‘太鼓 (Taiko)’, comes exactly 10 years from his first EP ’09/14′. So has the decade long wait been worth it? Well, yes and no. No, because nothing is worth waiting for 10 years for. But a big fat yes because his debut album is really very good.
When Rivoire burst onto the scene with his glowing eyes and gut-busting brand of science fiction-laced electro, his alter ego took on a comic book hero facade. But like so many of his compatriots he kinda feel off the radar, releases became further and further apart and sadly less impactful.
Dangers ability to craft a cinematic banger that are laced with cultural references — whether it’s from Hollywood blockbusters or obscure Tokyo anime — has always been his raison d’être, His debut album, then, as you might expect comes off as a score to a imaginary comic book film, where the glowing eyes of the mysterious Danger stalk the night sky.
“Rivoire’s debut certainly feels like he’s experimented in the right places whilst still delivering the high intensity electro for which his fans so craved.”
The opening tracks — especially ‘7:17′, ’11:02′ & 11:03′ — kick off the album on a classical tip, which only adds to the album’s grandeur, before Rivoire hits you with the album first big moment, at precisely ’22:41’. There’s a couple of clever collaborations on offer, too, amongst the dystopian undergrowth from Tasha The Amazon, who offers up a MIA-esque rap over scrunching basslines and clattery drums, whilst Lil Brain (a new A.I. vocalist of Danger’s creation) offers up cyborgian r&b vocals on ’11:50′, which also adds to the album’s overall palette. The album’s actually a lot more multifaceted that might expect from a producer who’s created a name for himself with bleeding edge electro. Rivoire’s debut, then, certainly feels like he’s experimented in the right places whilst still delivering the high intensity electro bangers for which his fans so craved.
Granted, it’s not going to have the same effect as say ‘Cross’ or ‘Ok Cowboy’ — but that doesn’t mean in the fullness of time, it can’t sit alongside some of the great French electro albums, from the likes of Justice, Vitalic and Yuksek. I suppose we’ll only know how great ‘Taiko’ really is when all the pieces of the jigsaw are finally put together, whether that’s from an elaborate stage show or some clever videos to go along with the music. And that’s maybe the biggest disappointment. You’ve got these incredible impactful bangers but you’re left to fill in the gaps where a video or a clever animation would really add to the overall drama. Danger’s music deserves this narrative to be fully fleshed out, especially if you’re presenting yourself as a shadowy comic book-like figure. The main problem is after 10 years and an album we still don’t really know who Danger is. And that’s a shame. These questions could and maybe should have been answered somehow, and maybe in the fullness of time they will. Sure, the mysteriousness has always been part of Rivoire’s appeal but you can’t help but feel that ‘Taiko’ is a missed opportunity in many ways. And that’s a shame.