6 Must-Hear POPOF Tracks for Any Diehard Techno Lover

Jun 30, 2023

John Cameron

4 min read

POPOF’s covered a lot of ground throughout his dance music career. A cofounder of ‘90s free rave organizers Heretik System, his second chapter saw him hone in on the foundational rhythms of techno and house.

In the process, he earned an audience with such esteemed labels as Hot Creations, Mood, Repopulate Mars, and Truesoul. He’s also collaborated with the likes of UMEK, Space 92, Kiko, and Julian Jeweil. He’s far beyond breaking into this innermost circle of the underground. At this point, he counts these artists among his peers.

How did he do it? Not by resigning himself to the status quo, that’s for sure. POPOF has remarked that he “could not care less about trends,” and that he prefers “making music according to my mood of the moment, what I have been experiencing, not according to what’s trendy.” In an industry rife with cutthroat copycats and well-meaning purists, it’s an approach that’s helped him stand out.

If you’re unfamiliar with the music of POPOF, it can be hard to know where to start. We here at Gray Area have you covered with this list of six crucial tracks from the Parisian DJ and producer.

1. Julian Jeweil and POPOF - Dance Escape

From the foreboding basses at its outset, “Dance Escape” makes its intentions known. A collaboration between POPOF and Drumcode darling Julian Jeweil, it’s here to raise the energy on the dance floor. Retro acid synths give way to a creaking vocal refrain (or is it a Foley effect?) before a breakdown gives bodies a necessary — albeit brief — respite.

2. Jacidorex and POPOF - Midnight Express

“Midnight Express” is one of the more upbeat entries of POPOF’s illustrious discography. He and Jacidorex counterbalanced its rolling kick drums with suspenseful, high-pitched tones and ‘90s acid stabs to yield a fine-tuned dance floor weapon. There’s no standing still when “Midnight Express” comes in — not even if you wanted it.

3. UMEK, Space 92, POPOF - Control

So named for the distorted vocal refrain introduced in the beginning of the track, “Control” was the 2022 joint effort of POPOF, UMEK, and Space 92. The synth work captures a complex emotional palette while stopping just shy of cheesiness, even when it wades into more melodic territory during the breakdown. POPOF saw this collaboration as a chance to leave a lasting impression. It’s safe to say he made it count.

4. POPOF - Bowo

One of POPOF’s quirkier numbers, “Bowo” pairs funky synth work with pitched-down spoken word samples to great effect. Released on Form in 2018, it flies in the face of monotone techno by moving up and down the dynamic range fluidly, clocking in at various energy levels along the way.

5. POPOF - Serenity

“Serenity” is one of POPOF’s earlier tracks, having come out on Form in 2009. Even today, though, it holds up on its own merit. An emotional journey replete with warbling synths and subtle atmospheres, it leaves an imprint on the mind of each listener. When held up side by side with his more driving fare, “Serenity” shows the creative range of POPOF.

6. POPOF - Do You Want Me

Another of POPOF’s older tracks, “Do You Want Me” combines futuristic synths with rich instrumentals. The final ingredient is a breathy spoken word sample that adds a somehow relatable element to the whole of the composition. All these years after it came out in 2012, “Do You Want Me” remains one of POPOF’s most in-demand works.

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