January 1999

Cassius redefined house music

The first album by the duo Cassius, first announced in 1996, was released under Virgin in January 1999. Logically entitled Cassius 1999, the record was far from the downtempo sound of La Funk Mob, the pair’s previous project. Instead, Zdar and Boombass chose to break down barriers in house music by incorporating rock and hip-hop references. The album was a high-energy whirlwind, just like the wild music video for “Cassius 1999.”

March 1999

The “Flat Beat” phenomenon

The meteoric career of Flat Eric saw the small yellow puppet enter the collective unconscious, staring in silly videos and selling three million singles in three months. Flat Eric was a character featured in the single “Flat Eric” as well as in advertisements directed by the musician and director Quentin Dupieux. Despite two incredible EPs released under F Communications in 1997 and 1998 (#1 and M-Seq), Mr Oizo’s career was lagging before he released the wildly successful track “Flat Beat.” Dupieux, who had already created the music videos for Laurent Garnier’s “Flashback,” “Crispy Bacon,” and the short film Nightmare Sandwiches, produced two ads for Levi’s Jeans featuring the adventures of Flat Eric, a yellow puppet he created. Dupieux used his song “Flat Eric” as the ad’s soundtrack.

The single flew off the shelves. Levi’s manufactured the puppet and sold tens of thousands of Flat Erics in just a few months. Fans were so wild about the puppet that it went out of stock. Meanwhile, Mr Oizo was quietly writing his first album, going in the opposite direction of Flat Eric, which he had tired of. Analog Worms Attack had a rougher and more abrasive sound than his previous productions and surprised his fans by its unbridled creativity. The rest of Oizo/Dupieux’s career, whether his records (released under Ed Banger starting in 2007) or movies (Steak, Wrong Cops, Wrong, Rubber, etc.), further demonstrated his abundant and unusual imagination.

August 1999

The end of Boréalis

The sixth edition of Boréalis in 1998 turned out to be its last. Boréalis 1999 was scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 7, and 25,000 people were expected to attend. However, the event was cancelled due to a rainstorm in Montpellier the day before that rendered the field, where the five stages were set up, impassable. It was the end of an impressive run for the Pingouins, the group of friends behind this legendary festival.

October 1999

French Touch : the French artists that make the world dance

In the fall of 1999, French TV program Envoyé Spécial set aside the clichés that the general press had been using to describe techno since the early 90s to shed new light on the French scene that was taking the world by storm. Directed by Alexis Bernier, a journalist at Libération, and Philippe Lévy, a photographer and videographer, French Touch, ces Français qui font danser le monde told the story of a young music scene that had captured the attention of the entire world. The film perfectly summed up the state of the French scene at the start of the 2000s.

Alex Gopher channeled Billie Holiday

The discreet Alex Gopher, who had signed with Disques Solid, Etienne de Crécy’s label, released his first album, You, My Baby & I. One of the album’s stand-out tracks was “The Child,” a single based on a sample from Billie Holiday’s “God Bless The Child.” The impressive music video made by H5 depicted a ride through a city in which everything was represented by words.

December 1999

Katapult: the record store of the 2000s

Created in Rouen in 1996 by Alex and Laetitia, a couple with a passion for music, the record shop and label Katapult moved to Paris’s eleventh district. Six years and another move later, the shop closed, but Katapult had succeeded in creating an entire minimalistic and refined house music scene called “micro-house.” French musicians Ark and Cabanne were some of its members. Katapult also managed to establish a strong link with the German minimal house music scene as well. Twenty years later, Katapult continues to release records, organize parties, and just celebrated its anniversary.