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Music / Pepe Deluxé

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Why hold an album release party in an aquarium? Why not? L: Paul Malström, explorer of worlds both known and unknown; R: James Spectrum, Baron of Sealand.

Anyway, when recording new music, we only have two rules:
1. If it sounds like a sample, it sounds good.
2. The more work you put into a sound or recording, the more you will like it.
— "Pepe Deluxé Album Companion II"

Pepe Deluxé is a band.

It was formed in Helsinki, Finland, by Jari "James Spectrum" Salo, Vellu "DJ Slow" Maurola, and Tomi "JA-Jazz" Castrén in 1996. DJ Slow left in 2001, and JA-Jazz left in 2008. Multi-instrumentalist Paul Malmström (a New York-based Swedish expatriate) began collaborating with the band in 2003, and officially joined in 2008.

Initially, PD's sound was a sample-heavy fusion of big beat and trip-hop, with traces of psychedelic rock and 60's camp. Over time, the influence of big beat and trip-hop diminished, while that of psych rock increased. Furthermore, PD began recording all the parts of their songs themselves, but constructed their songs to fool listeners into thinking they still used samples.

  • Three Times a Player EP (1998) Independent demo
  • Super Sound (1999)
    • Woman in Blue EP (1999)
    • Super Sound EP (1999)
    • "Before You Leave" single (2001)
  • Beatitude (2003)
    • "Salami Fever" single (2003)
    • "Girl!" single (2003)
    • "Ask for a Kiss" single (2003)
    • "Lying Peacefully" single (2004)
  • Spare Time Machine (2007)
    • "Pussy Cat Rock" single (2007)
    • "Mischief of Cloud Six" single (2007)
    • "Go for Blue" single (2007)
    • "Forgotten Knights" single (2008)
  • Queen of the Wave (2012)
    • "The Storm" single (2011)
    • "A Night and a Day" single (2012)
    • Go Supersonic EP (2012)
    • My Flaming Thirst single (2012)
  • Angry Birds Go! soundtrack (2013)
    • "Go Girl Go" single (2016)
    • "The Surrealist Woman" single (2019)
    • "Big Fat Woodpecker" single (2021)
    • "General Deluxé" single (2021)
  • Phantom Cabinet, Vol. 1 (2021)

Provides examples of:

  • Crapsaccharine World: The "Ask for a Kiss" music video is set in a world with a weird mix of cartoon logic and real-world consequences. For example, a Space Invaders-esque videogame enemy has a protracted, painful death upon getting shot, and an anthropomorphic drum kit doesn't appreciate being drummed.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: For the "Go Supersonic" music video, the scenes in the real world are black and white, while the hallucination is in color.
  • Driving a Desk: Taken up to 11 in the "Go Supersonic" video. The camera is far enough back to see that all the "racers" are sitting in chairs, in front of a projected backdrop... yet the chairs still move as if they were go-karts.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Super Sound is almost completely different from any of their later albums, with the sample-heavy late nineties big beat aesthetic.
  • Epic Rocking: Spare Time Machine has a few, due to the psychedelic influence: "Ms. Wilhelmina and Her Hat" (6:25), "Last of the Great Explorers" (6:54), and "Captain Carter's Fathoms" (7:09).
  • Everything Is an Instrument: They build a lot of their own instruments. They also recorded a song on the Great Stalacpipe Organ, which plays an entire cave.
  • Forbidden Fruit: "Super Sonic Sound System": Drawer #9 "is factory sealed, and cannot be opened under any circumstances."
  • Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Steampunk acute accent? Anyway, "Deluxé" is pronounced exactly the same as "Deluxe", if the narrator on "Intro" (from Beatitude) is to be believed.
  • Hidden Track: Beatitude has a whole hidden EP tacked on the end: three full songs, plus an intro and outro track.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: In "Lucky the Blind vs. Vacuum Cleaning Monster": "You may not believe it, but trust the lie to be true. / Go asking the blind boy. I bet he saw this thing, too."
  • Klatchian Coffee:
    • In the "Go Supersonic" video, drinking the Supersonic-sized "Hot Sauce" causes the characters to hallucinate wildly.
    • In the "A Night and a Day" video, the coffee causes the previously-stoic Yol Gurro to dance wildly, shoot laser bolts from his feet, and fly.
  • Magical Computer: The "Super Sonic Sound System"'s mainframe isn't just capable of separating music channels and mixing on the fly—it can literally change the genre of a song during playback.
  • Murder Ballad: "Cruel Youth", about a boy who kills several girls by drowning them. His would-be seventh victim finds out what he intends, so she drowns him first.
  • Mushroom Samba: The majority of the "Go Supersonic" video is the characters' collective hallucination after drinking the hottest coffee the shop offers.
  • New Sound Album: Spare Time Machine was the album where they completely swore off sampling for good, and where the psychedelic rock influence overtook the electronic influence.
  • No Ending: "Black Cadillac" abruptly ends with the lyrics, "Little girl / feel so bad / I'm gonna..."
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Allegedly, the band deliberately re-used the original master tapes from Spare Time Machine to record the parts for Queen of the Wave.
  • Re-release the Song: The original, Finnish version of Super Sound had a lot of uncleared samples. For international release, the band rerecorded the album, with original instrumental parts replacing the samples they couldn't clear.
  • Retraux:
    • PD consider the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s to be the golden age of pop music, and use genuinely vintage recording equipment (in many cases, using the actual mixers, pre-amplifiers, or tape decks that their musical heroes used) to achieve the sound of that era.
    • The "A Night and a Day" and "Super Sonic Sound System" videos are very convincing pastiches of kitschy 60s TV, with the appropriate video quality (or lack thereof), to boot.
    • Spare Time Machine was recorded on a cassette.
  • Sampling: PD stopped using samples because they felt licensing was too much of a hassle, but they like the sampling aesthetic so much that they take every effort to make their completely original songs sound like they were built from samples.
  • Staggered Zoom: Every time Annabelle says "Super! Sonic! Sound! System!"
  • Synchro-Vox: Used in the videos for "The Mischief of Cloud Six" and "Pussy Cat Rock". The latter is interesting in that the actor's mouth is superimposed over live-action footage of an animatronic cat doll.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The boy from "Cruel Youth", who turns his back on after announcing that he intends to kill her.
  • Wingding Eyes: Glowing neon X's indicate death in the "Go Supersonic" video.