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QuinzeQuinze, 'Reuts'

In 2011 there was a party near Taharuu Beach in Tahiti, the largest island of French Polynesia. Legend has it that here, on a wooden veranda overflowing with dancing partygoers, the genre "ori deck" began. Also known as sapa'u, this new strain of dance music ("ori" means "dance") has swept the country, and its searing metallic synths and moombahton rhythms can be heard regularly in nightclubs and TikToks made by locals. Some tracks, such as Bozy & Aniheitini's "Maha'u Deck," feature traditional vocalizing that recalls haka performances, bridging Polynesian past and present. That song was the scorching opener to a tremendous mix by TA'A_INO, the DJ alias of Parisian-Polynesian collective QuinzeQuinze. The group takes a thrilling sci-fi tack with its new single, "Reuts."

QuinzeQuinze dedicates the song's first two minutes to kaleidoscopic electronics. Its lumbering beat is as elastic as it is sturdy, and it gets adorned with synths that have both machine and laser-like sonics. The chaos is finally supplanted by vocals, which deliver cryptic lyrics about identity. There's a confidence in the warbling, as lines like "untie the blindfold" and "all I can see is myself" are sung with searing conviction despite crackling static filling the negative space. Clarity and resolve arrive in the final third, when "Reuts" becomes wholly instrumental, letting the spirit of dance back into the fore. Given that European missionaries banned traditional Tahitian dancing in the late 18th century, and that it didn't really become popular again until the 1960s, this extended outro is a fulfillment of the lyrics — "Reuts" treats dancing as a form of liberation, one that needs to acknowledge the past in order to look to hopeful futures.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joshua Minsoo Kim
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