In the often-faceless world of electronic music, a mysterious backstory goes a long way and can even make a virtue out of an artist’s low profile. Consider Burial, whose substantial initial buzz was fueled as much by his haunting South London nightscapes as it was by his initial anonymity. In 2004, Black Devil Disco Club’s eponymous EP arrived with a pretty fantastic history: Originally recorded in 1978 by an obscure French producer (and even then working under an pseudonym) who had released no other work, the record was picked up by Rephlex Records’ PP Roy at a fleamarket, DJed by the likes of Luke Vibert and Aphex Twin, and subsequently reissued to much speculation that the whole thing was just another alias for one of the label’s notoriously tricky artists. Helping to fuel such theories was the fact that Black Devil’s idiosyncratic sound– that metronomic disco beat, murky synth arpeggios, and slippery, scat-like singing– seemed simultaneously like a forward-thinking album frozen in amber and of a piece with the retro Italo disco streak that was just gaining speed in mid-2000s electro.
Bernard Fevre, the man in fact behind Black Devil Disco Club, returned two years later with the aptly titled 28 After, an album that stuck so closely to the debut’s template that many reviewers immediately started speculating again as to whether these were new recordings or another batch of tracks from the 70s. Circus, then, represents an unequivocal step into the present for Black Devil Disco Club, if one that still makes a virtue of Fevre’s relative anonymity– this time by hiding him behind guest stars. Reportedly consisting of all new recordings, at the very least each of Circus’ 10 tracks features freshly recorded guest vocals from current artists like YACHT and Cosmetics as well as acts closer to Fevre’s vintage, such as Afrika Bambaataa and Nancy Sinatra.
Black Devil Disco Club plays at USF Verftet friday 23. september.