“Who the fuck is Agar Agar?” someone hollered in passing, as the line at Baby’s All Right spilled out of it’s entrance doors this past Friday. Agar Agar (named after the jelly-like substance from your childhood) is elegant and defiant, vulnerable but uncompromising, in all the ways you’d expect after hearing an opening note. It’s no wonder that the French duo resides in Paris, the city that is consistently the source of innovative taste-makers in the electronic pop scene (think Paradis, Vendredi Sur Mer … even La Femme, somehow). Their approach towards self-image and the press is refreshingly tongue-in-cheek: when asked about how they met, they insisted that they “met at the gates of hell, ready to cross the Styx with a boat made of rotten corpses. We saw each other and realized we had the same purpose.”
The same radical approach is evident in their live presence, as the disco ball spun to the sounds of viral single “Prettiest Virgin” and newer 80s-soaked punk tracks like “Fangs.” Their debut EP, Cardan, is a thirty-minute-long dive into a world of wandering at night, licking your wounds, slowly fading into a noisy electronic beat. It was produced by Armand Bultheel, who weaves minimal with the ambitious in one effortless breath. “It wasn’t a vision, it was a belief,” they told Wonderland about the vision for the band’s sound. “The same faith in the next fusion of the entire human kind into what some people call “the infinite and universal dark species” that will certainly govern space in the near future.”
It’s safe to say we all knew just who Agar Agar was at the end of the night. It was hard not to feel like there was a lurking, incoming wave of something new, something only the sultry reaches of Clara Cappagli’s vocals could tap into. With a last dark, glittering beat, the duo parted ways from the stage without fanfare or farewells, leaving us craving the next time we’d dance together again.
Listen to Cardan below: