Polo & Pan are timeless. The Parisian duo rose to global prominence by eliciting a summery musical hedonism that flicks like frames through Golden Era Hollywood films— think romance-thrillers in San Tropez or love-crossed youth in Rio de Janeiro. With the release of their long-awaited sophomore LP Cyclorama, Polo & Pan further refine their cinematic impressions on house, disco, club, techno, and psychedelia in arrangements that play out like vignettes, abstractions on the motif of voyage that traverse through locales, time, tempo, and the cycles of life.
Cyclorama is Polo & Pan fully realized: hedonism matured, sounds fine-tuned, scope broadened. While standouts like “Feel Good” and the ELO-inspired “Magic” are cued up to soundtrack the world’s revelers emerging again into a joyful daylight world, Polo & Pan are also exploring shades of darkness and introspection. “Requiem,” “Jiminy,” and “Tunnel” — the latter a collaboration with the Compton-bred club iconoclast Channel Tres — take the duo’s sonic late into the realm of all-night session bacchanalia, awash with brooding mystique.
Cyclorama also finds Polo & Pan foraying to the fringes of dancefloor thematics, exploring life, death, and transcendence in tracks like the buoyant and celebratory “Ani Kuni” — written by Alexandre Grynszpan for his son — and the wistful psychedelic ballad ‘Melody.’ The LP also features collaborative homage to eternal film score maestro Vladimir Cosma ‘Bilboquet’ — a silver screen flirtation that may be a sign of the duo’s future celluloid aspirations.
Throughout the Cyclorama journey, Polo & Pan offer richer textures, more complex emotions, intrepid collaborations, and surprises like the emergence of Paul Armand-Delille’s dulcet vocals. The album closer “Peter Pan” is a promise that, although Polo & Pan may have matured, they’ll never quite grow up so much that they lose their joyous touch. So while Cyclorama may be a watershed in the scope of the duo’s sound, the feeling the music brings to the dancefloor remains uncompromisingly, inimitably, and undoubtedly Polo & Pan.
That now signature Polo & Pan feeling the duo has wrought on the far-flung dancefloors of the world has been a decade in the making. But when Paul Armand-Delille and Alexandre Grynszpan crossed paths at the seminal Le Baron nightclub in 2012, much of their musical DNA was already encoded. They built on the club’s penchant for approachable, open format DJ selection with their own concept for musical voyages that traverse the globe sprinkling joyous dancefloor energy at every port of call. Their shared tendency to crate-dig through cultural moments of the past in pursuit of contemporary, solar hedonism bore fruit from the onset. The duo entered the studio together and, in their words: “We never left.”
While much of the electronic music world has descended into fast fashion, churning out medium music that devolves into characterless drone, Polo and Pan have assumed the complete opposite philosophy. Grynszpan (Pan) is the gregarious one, a natural DJ with a love for well-crafted pop and pleasing the crowd. Armand-Delille (Polo) is the creative fountain, a studio technician and musical historian. These differences only serve to complement one another creatively as the duo eschews trends and expectations in doing very much their own way: live instrumentation, layered arrangements, and a complete refusal to compromise their own rhythm.
Beginning with 2013’s prescient and infectious Rivolta EP, Polo & Pan spent the better part of that decade meticulously crafting their sound at a perfectionist’s pace, each release further building their musical world and reputation. Already a tastemaker’s favorite, it was the 2017 debut album Caravelle that announced Polo & Pan to the world in grand style. The duo has become synonymous with sun-kissed whimsy and fetching grooves. And while tracks like ‘Canopėe’ and ‘Dorothy’ are now essential playing for any rooftop or beachside party no matter your latitude, it’s Polo & Pan’s live show that takes them to the next level.
Linen suits, frisky theatrics, swaying palm trees, sirens with golden voices, and a liberal helping of pan flute: The Polo & Pan live performance brings their music to life with a sparkling vibrancy. It’s a sight to behold. One look around the dancefloor—whether it’s sold-out US tours or major festival performances—and you’ll see smiles, pretenses dropped, and earnest joy on the faces around you. That, more than their cultured heritage, global appeal, or history of underground hits, might be Polo & Pan’s most remarkable quality.
As is the case for many iconoclasts, It may have taken some time for the world-at-large to catch Polo & Pan’s creative drift, but now we are all very much along for the voyage.