With melodies that are precious without ever sounding ridiculous, an inordinate love for shiny costumes, and a certain talent for Revolution, Jef Barbara is the new Sun King of Electronic Pop.
A native of Montreal, the man with an intersex polynym has long been dragging his glitter around underground clubs, at once “everywhere and nowhere,” like a nighttime butterfly awaiting its metamorphosis.
Act I saw the release of a an EP in 2009 with his first group, Jef and the Holograms, followed by a concept EP entitled Barbara Blanca in which the androgynous musician collaborated with the legendary R. Stevie Moore, repeating one last time the Flashdance choreography that would make up the essence of his music videos, each executed with as little as three strips of fabric. Be advised, in passing, to watch “Sébastien”—a love triangle—in which the artist effortlessly succeeds in slipping between Jem and Superman as part of the mythology of superheroes who are capable of swapping grey flannel suits for amazing tightfitting costumes. Without a doubt, Jef is truly outrageous. And if David Bowie’s Jean Genius could have picked up a pen in order to describe the spirit of this young Canadian signed to the Tricatel label, he would undoubtedly have adopted cardinal de Retz’s prophetic maxim that to be unambiguous can only be to one’s own detriment, evoked four centuries prior to becoming the gold standard for Pop. Jef Barbara has retained the lesson well.