It has been five years since Justice released their album Woman. Though the French duo did release Woman Worldwide in 2019, an album of reworkings from their discography, there had been mostly radio silence on potential new music. In the breakneck pace of the modern music business, five years is like 50 at this point. But about one month ago, we got a hint of something. One half of the duo, Gaspard Augé announced a solo album Escapades, which promised to bring something a little different from the producer.
Whereas, Justice productions are often tweaked endlessly, which they are so detailed and why it takes so long to make their tracks, Escapades was made in two months without the endless editing. Augé teamed up with French composer Victor le Masne (known for his work with Chilly Gonzales and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount) to create this album in two months with the mission of making music that is “fun” and “larger than life.” They used a synth that once belonged to Yes and worked in Paris’ Motorbass Studios, which had belonged to their friend, the late legend Philippe Zdar of Cassius.
That fun and brashness comes roaring out of the gates on the first album track “Force majeure,” which helped introduce us to this new world Augé is creating. It, like many of the other singles, is forceful and powerful. However, the album doesn’t just want to blast away with synths and drums. There are loads of slower, more operatic tracks like “Europa,” as if he is composing a space opera from the 1970's. The introduction of flutes and strings on “Casablanca” to counterbalance the chugging synth work makes for a sparkling contrast like it has entered the hall of mirrors at Versailles.
Escapades has some hints of Justice in it. Tracks like the soaring, triumphant “Hey!” with the chugging bass underneath remind you of the legacy he carries, but he is still moving this along a different musical timeline. The synths on “Vox” are very much of Woman era Justice for the dreamlike world that this album plunges the listener into. The final track “Rêverie” captures you in the dream of his space odyssey.
Gaspard Augé steps out on his own for a debut solo album to create something that is still familiar, but edges more into a world if brash dance music was made in the context of 70's glam-rock. It is boisterous, larger than life and most importantly fun. There are strong signs of Justice, but he extends his world out into a dreamlike space odyssey. Pick up your copy here.