5 French House Albums You Must Own

I meet a lot of people that tell me they’re looking to delve deeper into the world of the French touch, but don’t really know where to start. Obviously everyone knows their Daft Punk, but what other over-shadowed and under-appreciated gems are there to be unearthed? Well, this is my guide to French house for the new listener. Enjoy.

Motorbass - "Pansoul" (1996)

Motorbass was composed of two of the key figures in the creation of French house: Etienne De Crecy and Philippe Zdar. I first came across this album on 12″ while randomly thumbing through a bargain bin in a record store, but made the fatal error of not buying it as soon as I saw it! Now, years later, I’m sat at my computer, listening to 128kbps mp3 rips of the album, wishing I got this on wax when I had the chance. Motorbass’ early EPs were more along the lines of deep house, but “Pansoul” is where the signature French touch sound really shines through, alternating between deep, almost ambient cuts to bumping house grooves, barely leaving the listener any time to catch their breath.

Motorbass – Wan Dence

Etienne De Crecy - "Superdiscount" (1998)

After Motorbass, Etienne and Zdar went their separate ways. Etienne went on to produce this beauty of an album with a whole host of guests. Standout track “Prix Choc” is a house classic, with a jazzy groove, pounding beats and a sampled reggae chant of “Sinsemilla marijuana…”. This album is widely regarded as being one of the first to exhibit the French house sound we know and love today.

Etienne De Crecy – Prix Choc

Cassius - "1999" (1999)

Zdar, on the other hand, went on to team up again with old friend Hubert Blanc-Francard, better known as Boom Bass. The two first began producing together as early as 1994 under the name La Funk Mob, a more hip-hop/downtempo flavoured project, but eventually, they morphed into a house duo known as Cassius. Their debut “1999” is essential for any French house collection, a hunk of pure funk gold with priceless gems like “Feeling For You”, “La Mouche” and “Foxxy” embedded within.

Cassius – NuLife

Modjo - "Modjo" (2001)

As with all good music, it’s only a matter of time before a borderline-cheesy vocal variant of French house popped up. This variant was Modjo, the disco house “boyband” made up of producer Romain Tranchart (formerly of Funk Legacy) and vocalist Yann Destal. The duo are best known for their track “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)” which topped charts all over the world. They released one self-titled album in 2001, as well as remixes for We In Music and Air, before parting ways.

Modjo – On Fire

Alex Gopher with Demon presents Wuz - "Wuz" (2002)

And finally, one of my absolute favourite records ever. All the electro heads among you will probably recognise the name Alex Gopher, but did you know back in the day he used to make French house? I know, it’s a shocker. This record that he produced under his Wuz moniker, with label buddy Demon, encapsulates everything that a great french house record should be. Funky, memorable grooves, chilled out synths and lots of perfectly placed filters all come together to form shimmering nuggets of modern day funk to make this an extremely underrated album.

Alex Gopher with Demon presents Wuz – Wuz

That’s about all from me this week, take care,

AY! x


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