Gaspard Augé, best known as one half of Justice, the two-time Grammy winning duo that united rock and rave in the mid-2000s, has released his debut solo album in 2021, "Escapades". "Escapades" seals his reputation as a master of maximalism, an electronic auteur whose imaginary soundtracks are a refreshing jolt that reimagine European classical music for the 21st century.
Previous to the run up to "Escapades", Augé last surfaced publicly when he and Justice’s Xavier De Rosnay won a 2019 Grammy for their album Woman Worldwide, a triumphant rework of songs from across the band’s first decade. Though Justice are consistently at work on new music, Augé felt it was time to figure out his musical identity outside of the duo. He knew he wanted to make something instrumental and to experiment freely “without overthinking it.” The result is a freewheeling array of massive dreamscapes and sentimental sugar rushes that conjure images of pagan rituals in orbit or spaghetti westerns on a space station; a sonic utopia that crisscrosses from prog revival, to dancefloor thumpers, to psychedelic folk, to Italian horror film soundtracks, and every conceivable point in between.
Augé brough this ostentatious vision to life in partnership with French composer Victor le Masne (known for his work with Chilly Gonzales and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount) – and the pair worked across two Paris studios: Enterprise – where they used a synthesizer that had once belonged to Yes – and Motorbass Studios, which had belonged to their friend, the late legend Philippe Zdar of Cassius. Whereas Justice are famous for tweaking their music in the edit, Escapades came together in a lightning-quick marathon, recorded within two months. The result of that process is an album that evokes a sense of bombastic playfulness. If Augé has any mission statement for the new work, it’s that he ignores narrow definitions of “good taste or bad taste” and wants to capture the innocence of enjoying music in your youth, where you’re guided first and foremost by feeling. “I've always been obsessed with making larger than life music,” he says. “Mostly because it's more fun.”