François De Roubaix – Commissaire Moulin Et Autres Scenes De Crimes (WéMè, January 2016)

Having spent 2015 drenched and even drowning in a widespread and uncontrollable fetishism for Italian film music, it’s been good to do some ear-cleansing this January not only with some dewey-eyed Vangelis but also with the work of François De Roubaix. For the uninitiated, De Roubaix was a relatively unsung French composer, who gifted the world a rather massive catalogue in his 10 years of work before his premature death in 1975.

Though he penned memorable soundtracks for box office hits (usually involving Alain Delon pointing his revolver at you from the poster), De Roubaix’s speciality was his unique talent in creating icy twinkling soundscapes which are in fact more appropriate to the small screen. TV efforts sadly circulate less than music for film, something put straight with this loving reappraisal of De Roubaix’s work on Belgian label WéMè: the bulk of the previously unreleased tracks pressed here come from one of musician’s last efforts, the soundtrack for popular TV drama Commissaire Moulin.

The record is more anxiety than horror, more suspense than crescendo; preferring poor, sparse melodies to round, sumptuous ones. This is music for corpses in kitchens, for municipal scandals, for waiting in a car for something to happen. For De Roubaix, the sound of crime is cold, surgical synthesis: irregularly interspersed bleeps and throbs squeaking their way onto tense soundscapes, fast-paced electronic gushes over dirty basslines, jewels strewn over an old investigator’s anorak. Frankly recommended for lovers of the French approach to dark synthesiser music, in whatever shape or form.