Review: Sébastien Tellier Channels His Home Life Into Electric Synth-Pop In ‘Domesticated’

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Sébastien Tellier | Domesticated | Record Makers / Rough Trade

Release Date: 29 May, 2020

One of the most notable aspects of acclaimed French multi-instrumentalist Sébastien Tellier’s work is the cinematic eclecticism present in his creations; with a focus on lush, vivid soundscapes ripe with kaleidoscopic textures, the eccentricity of his synth-pop prowess and charismatic personality immediately brings Tellier into the spotlight with each release.

With each work, Tellier has approached his compositions with specific themes in mind, concepts that may differ from one another but are ultimately all intertwined with his personal experiences; the lavish, rich work the artist puts out is a clearly defined recognition of his own identity and experiences, which is perhaps yet another aspect that draws us toward the enigmatic composer. From inspiration drawn from French film composers, spirituality, grief, sexuality and love, we see Tellier return with his 6th LP ‘Domesticated’ – his first studio album since 2014’s ‘L’Aventura’.

With Tellier’s ever-present whimsicality and bright, bold aesthetic – along with the inherent cinematic nature of his works – one would perhaps never guess that ‘Domesticated’ is based on the seemingly day-to-day ‘mundanities’ of everyday life, as the artist channels his dynamic, distinct skill into an album about his life at home as a husband and father.

Stuck In A Summer Love‘ opens with twinkling, sunlit arpeggios, sparkling with anticipation as a lower, muted heartbeat pulses enthusiastically in greeting. Segueing into a flourishing, atmospheric soundscape – the rapid heartbeat slows to a diligent, pounding beat, a bold backbone highly cinematic electronic textures colour the track is a vibrant and melodious resonance. Taking a breath, Tellier’s vocals are pulled into focus, his velveteen voice soaked in effects and passionate in tone.

Sprouting into strikingly dramatic layers of lush electronic textures and a charmingly playful dance, ‘Stuck In A Summer Love‘s sunny, loving disposition combined with the Tellier’s expert composition makes for a highly immersive track teeming with a whimsical aura and showcases Tellier’s distinct personality almost effortlessly.

The overall theatrics gleam with a bewitching light, an auditory performance one cannot help but get lost in – the glittering soundscape of the upbeat, colourful track alluring and endearing in its jovial, cinematic personality – the highly captivating track would be an absolute joy to experience and dance to in a live setting.

The approach to ‘Domestic Tasks‘ composition is fascinating in and of itself – while there still remains the sense of theatrics we heard in ‘Stuck In A Summer Love‘, Tellier has sculpted ‘Domestic Tasks’ progression in such a way that compliments the title of the track in a unique way that is highly reflective of Tellier. The manner in which the structure itself adds an extra layer of conceptual thought into the minimalistic soundscape which sees the track shine as it builds into its ultimate crescendo.

The paced introduction sets a focus on a heavy, pounding beat with Tellier’s vocals echoic in their extraterrestrial distortion; the gradual introduction of more intricate and cinematic textures allows for a clear sense of anticipation – the segue into a brief interlude of controlled chaos allows for boiling, bubbling textures and frantic static to disrupt the overall calm demeanour of the track, eventually in it’s own way sculpting the stage for further electrifying, ear-worm synth arpeggios and a dramatic immersion into an alien world – the alien world of domesticity.

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Rating: 8 / 10

Feature Image: Sébastien Tellier by Valentine Reinhardt ©

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