Still on a global detour here; the video above, for "Signature" by Paris-based DJ Mehdi, constitutes a glorious introduction to two major cultural trends currently emanating out of Western Europe, the electro scene in Paris, and "chav" culture from Britain.
Let's listen in, because all over the mainstream market of ideas, the pertinent question lately has been, "Is French culture really, finally, dead?" Maybe when it comes to composers, poets, novelists, or post-deconstructionists (I can't name a single one off the top of my head, either), but when it comes to finely chopped and cropped electronica, France is at the top of the global game.
And we're not referring to the bizarre really actually "new rave" dance phenomenon that is taking over the streets of Paris, "tektonic," although it is very fascinating. (Trust me. Look it up. You'll wind up watching for a while.) We're talking about the mixmasters. There's the almighty superhuman Daft Punk, of course, but the real up-from-the-sidewalks juice is coming from the crew at Ed Banger Records. That would include the now-ubiquitious DJ duo Justice, adored especially by an immense L.A. fan base, and also names like the youngish lady MC Uffie, and Mehdi (who makes a lovely romantic item with talented street artist Fafi). See also "I Am Somebody," another good Mehdi video, featuring the incomprable Chromeo -- who by the way are making their Mexico City debut for the MX Beat festival "warm-up gig" on February 14.
Then there are them chav kids, council housing toughs (that would be, "from the projects") with a taste for suped-up little cars, Burberry, and cheap jewelry. It's not new, it's just been identified, satirized, and Wiki-ed. See a somewhat intense academic analysis on the topic at ChavWorld, and, when you're ready, run out and get yourself an authentic chavette. ("No, but, yeah, but, no, but ...")
* Thanks Alexis, Valmiki, Mehammed.