French electronic/jazz fusion group Caravan Palace have released their new full-length album, <|°_°|>, via Le Plan Records. Using a series of keyboard characters as a title that has been commonly translated as Robot despite the band's insistence via their Facebook that listeners should refer to the album as anything they wish, the Parisian electronic big band's third album premiered on KCRW and is now also streaming on Spotify and available for purchase through the band's website.
As noted by KCRW DJ Eric J. Lawrence when the new album's preview stream went live last week, "There are very few bands that can claim to have absolutely created a new genre, but Caravan Palace actually can." Fronted by vocalist Zoé Colotis and founding members Hugues Payen (violin), Charles Delaporte (upright bass) and Arnaud Vial (guitar) alongside Antoine Toustou (trombone, machines), the Caravan certainly are "the prime movers in the Electro-Swing sound" as KCRW asserts.
As the story goes, the group was born out of a silent porn film score project; shortly thereafter they released their self-titled 2008 debut which floated around the #11 spot on France's charts for over a year. Since then Caravan Palace has come to epitomize the fusion of electronic dance music with the classic stylings of jazz-infused swing music. But as NPR noted in a 2013 feature of the band, it's easy for the American listenership to be turned-off by the term electro-swing: "Not only is swing a term with a notoriously slippery definition, the swing revival bands had little to do with any possible idea of swing." With Caravan Palace, "swing" gets back to its groovy big-band roots that drove crowds in the 1930s to dance all night; then they add some Roma-inspired "gypsy jazz" as well as the thumping conventions of today's electronic dance music to the mix.
According to a statement the band released with the album premiere announcement, Caravan Palace will be returning to the U.S. to tour sometime in spring 2016; dates will be announced shortly. The album's full tracklist is at the end of this article. Check out the official video for "Comics" below.
01. "Lone Digger"
10. "Human Leather Shoes for Crocodile Dandies"
11. "Lay Down"