REVIEW: Les Techno – “Where Were You?”

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In just over three minutes, you can feel like you’re in the ’80s again. Not in that uber poppy, super MTV-ready way. But in the socially charged, synth-laden, outsider-edging manner that birthed so many fantastic alternative artists before us. Of course, decades removed from the ’80s it’s still easy to feel the vibe when you have an artist like Les Techno at your fingertips.

Les Techno has been on the scene for quite a while, having worked in studio with Run-DMC and Mobb Deep, remixed early Red Hot Chili Peppers tracks, and dabbled in analog long before it was cool. Now he’s continuing his reign with a politically-charged new era that has his sights on the ever pressing United States political scene.

The New York City-based alternative musician infuses elements of Nick Cave, The Psychadelic Furs, and Talking Heads here, with a new single that aims its lens at last fall’s Neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Les Techno isn’t letting those involved off the hook so quickly. While mainstream news and media may have moved on, this artist is forcing listeners to hit the brakes for a moment and remember just how jarring and emotionally frustrating that whole debacle truly was.

Though the artwork is censored on public streaming platforms, the original unedited version forced those who look at it to remember the events in the same way “Where Were You?” tells them the same message in verbal form. The lo-fi, underground sounds of the track add to its gripping and haunting undertones, forcing the listener to truly pay attention to each word to truly feel the effects.

It’s not catchy and it’s not necessarily fun, but “Where Were You?” is an important track with a very real agenda. It highlights the state of the country in the USA and it addresses a historical event that shook the country right down to its core values. Not a lot of artists are specifically honing in on these occurrences, and that gives Les Techno an edge here.

Many artists have been creating work in the wake of the American president’s reign, coming out with inspiring and even fun-filled tunes to inspire the masses and help them focus on something other than politics. While that is a perfectly honourable mindset and way of making art, you have to really admire Les Techno’s directness and ability to just directly confront what he believes in.

Listen to Les Techno’s “Where Were You?”, courtesy of Les Techno’s Spotify page, by clicking here or on iTunes by clicking here. Be sure to check out Les Techno’s website as well as the artist’s pages on FacebookInstagram, and Soundcloud.