Sunday, 23 December 2012

ATTENTION! XMAS AVALANCHE!

Already had enough of Christmas? Then why not enjoy seeing Jacques Dutronc being buried under a symbolic avalanche of captiatlist Christmas-ness?


If only he'd been dressed up as Père Noël too.

Oh dear, sounds like poor Christophe is aching again this yuletide season, but at least he still believes in Father Christmas...



I posted this a few years ago, but in case you've never seen it, this is the Dim Dam Dom 1966 Christmas nativity, with Serge as Joseph, Chantal Goya as Mary, Sylvie Vartan narrating and Jacques Dutronc being... odd.

Let's be honest the whole thing is quite odd, very French, and very of-its-time.
l
Noël à Vaugirard (1966) avec Serge Gainsbourg... by rikiai  


I had hoped to post a couple of festive mp3s, but there's a problem with the site that hosts my files and I can't upload or access any files at all.  Snowballs!

Joyeux Noël readers, I'll be off for a while ("so what's new?" you all cry),  enjoying a 1st familial christmas and scoffing my body-weight in stollen.

Monday, 10 December 2012

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.16

NEWSFLASH! That man in the shadows (Chaîne pt.15) was not The Hacker, it was The Invisible Man...



L'Homme Invisible lurks in the bushes, late at night, outside the flats of unsuspecting batchelorettes:

*knock-knock-knock-knock*

----eerie voices whistle and wail and a stalking, slow-jazz rhythm strikes up----

femme: "Who is there?"

----silence----

*takes the latch off the door*

femme: "Who is there?"

*opens the door and looks outside*

femme: "Who is there?"

homme: "L'homme invisible"

----the sinister, brassy orchestration swells----

femme: "What do you want?"

homme: "You... YOU"

femme:  *gasps*

----eerie wailing and whistling continues----

femme: "No... NO!"

----invisible man ravishes woman soundtracked by a saucy, rasping trumpet----

femme: *gasps* *moans* *groans*

----invisible man leaves - a deathly silence hanging in the air----



So ladies, if it's getting late and you hear a faint knock-knock-knocking at your door, and you're not expecting visitors, turn the Dansette up, keep the lights on and just pretend you didn't hear...


Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible
[this was re-issued in 2001 on the Andre Popp collection Popp Musique on Tricatel. It's out of print but you may be able to pick up a 2nd hand copy from the usual haunts around the interweb]

...................................................................
L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain?
Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > Andre Popp - L'Homme Invisible > ?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sweet tooth

Back in August when I reviewed the FG compilation Made In France I was bemoaning the fact it was missing the France/Serge duet Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup, and how it would make a lot of people (i.e. me and my many personalities) woop with joy to have a well-mastered audio clip of that theme from the one-off Gallic 60s TV music show directed by Pierre Koralnik and Jean-Pierre Spiero in early 1967.

Well reader, I finally stopped my griping and done it myself.

And so I gift it to all of you out there on the interweb, ripped in high-quality from my very own collection.

France Gall et Serge Gainsbourg - Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup

Whilst I was about it, I figured I may as well kill 2 mp3s with one, er, audio-rip, and did this one too.

Just watch that knowing old rascal Serge smirking to himself as naive miss Gall sings about sweet little Annie and her love of aniseed lollipops...



Just in case you are completely in the dark, some bright spark has altruistically pasted together a load of archive clips to explain the story behind the song.





And here it is, it's not available in the shops (or anywhere else as far as I know), c'est Serge and France duetting together on  l'émmission Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup circa 1967, as seen in that there video above.

France Gall et Serge Gainsbourg - Les Sucettes
 

If you enjoyed these two vintage French pop rarities, please leave a comment to let me know. Merci x

Monday, 3 December 2012

France Grrrl

As promised here is the first of 2 posts of France Gall-related tuneage.

Here, for all you obscurists out there, are a couple of indie pop cover versions that have been sat on the shelves of my mp3 library gathering digital dust...



Free Kitten is about as close to a Riot Grrrl supergroup as you're likely to get - a duo formed by Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Julie Cafritz (Pussy Galore), later joined by Yoshimi P-We (The Boredoms) on drums, and Mark Ibold (Pavement), as token man-on-bass.



The kitten promptly escaped onto the US underground music scene and coughed up a rugs-worth of discordant pop furballs, including this cover-version of Serge's ode to a teenie-bopper's mis-adventures on LySergic acid Diethylamide...

Free Kitten - Teenie Weenie Boppie
[taken from the album Sentimental Education - you can buy it on LP or CD from Kill Rock Stars, or as various Download formats from the KRS bandcamp page]

In a pleasing moment of serendipity, I've just read that Kim Gordon launched a clothing line Mirror/Dash, in 2009, inspired by the wardrobe of one of our other French faves Françoise Hardy.


Now for some 90s twee-pop from post-C86 dream-poppers Heavenly - a sugar-spangled jangly guitar cover of another Serge-penned hit from France Gall's unbeatable mid-60s period



Heavenly - Nous Ne Sommes Pas Des Anges
[originally released on their final album Operation Heavenly, which you can still buy direct from K Records]



Stay tuned for some unreleased France/Serge interplay coming very soon...

Sunday, 2 December 2012

où avez-vous été Mr L'Amour Electronique?

Hmmm, nearly a whole month since my last blog post.

You may be wondering where I've been, what I've been up to, and why I've been neglecting one of my little corners of the internet.

But you probably couldn't care less, and I'm quite a private sort of person, so I shall enigmatically say that a slight ill wind crossed my path in the past couple of weeks, and aside from that I've had creative, work and baby-pop projects to attend to.

But I'm back, for now at least, and if you like France Gall then I have a couple of treats in the pipe-line this week, so come back soon and you hopefully won't be disappointed.

Domx


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

French music on 6music

Lauren Laverne's 6music show is currently putting together their 'People's Playlist' feature for tomorrow. This week's theme is titled 'The Ooh La La list', and will be half an hour of listener selected music from French artistes. I've posted my 2 Francs-worth on the 6music facebook page, and you can also make suggestions on Twitter.

The People's Playlist will be broadcast tomorrow (Thursday 08 November) sometime between 10am and 1pm on BBC 6music. You can also listen again for 7 days via the iPlayer.

You may be wondering the reason for all of this sudden French-ness? It's in honour of French nouvelle-shoegaze lovelies Melody's Echo Chamber who were in session yesterday.

Here is a shimmering and woozy video of M.E.C for your delectation

------------------------------------------------
D’you know after all that talking it up, I was out when the show was on, and I’ve only just had a chance to listen to it.

Now it wasn’t all my, er, tasse de thé, but any radio station that plays Superman-Supercool by Jacky Chalard just after 10am on a Thursday morning will always always get the thumbs up from my little corner of the interweb.

The full tracklisting for an oh-so brief 30+ minutes of air time was
Jacky Chalard – Superman-Supercool
Sebastién Tellier - La Ritournelle (Mr Dans Magic Wand Remix)
MC Solaar – Nouveau Western
Stereolab – French Disko
Serge Gainsbourg – En Melody
Amadou & Mariam – Masiteladi
Daft Punk – Da Funk

Wot no yé-yé? Yeah I know. And they didn't play any of my suggestions either. *sulks*. I was just happy to hear some French music on le radio really, especially one of the Serge songs I nearly always DJ (mentions Sunderland, Lauren Laverne's home town, you know... Apparently Serge liked the romantic connotations of phonetic sound of it: "Son-de-lon". Let's presume he never actually went to Sunderland).

You can listen again until this Thursday morning on the iPlayer.

Witch Culture on the BBC


Remember my post about The Eccentronic Research Council? Well, there was a creepy feature on them on last week's Halloween Culture Show which is still available for a couple more days.

You can watch the full show here >> [available until 2:39AM Fri, 9 Nov 2012]


And in case you're too late and it's not yet been re-posted to youtube by some form of analogue-to-digital witchcraft, there is an edited highlights clip of the feature here >>

Monday, 29 October 2012

C'est Halloween, moi j'ai peur

Time to dust off those Halloween mixtapes again.


If you like ghoulish Gallic psyche, creepy freakbeat and freaky femme-pop, look no further...


1. Stella - Si vous connaissez quelque-chose de pire qu'un vampire, parlez m'en toujours, ça pourra peut-être me faire sourire
2. Serge Gainsbourg - Docteur Jekyll Et Monsieur Hyde
3. Christine Pilzer - Dracula
4. Les Maledictus Sound - Kriminal Theme
5. Evariste - Connais-Tu I'animal Qui Inventa Le Calcul Integral
6. France Gall - Frankenstein
7. Jany L. - Mon Joli Vampire
8. Gérard Manset - Animal on est mal
9. Les Maledictus Sound - Monster Cocktail
10. Nicole Paquin - Mon Mari C'est Frankenstein
11. Brigitte Bardot - Le Diable Est Anglais




This one is chock-full of sinister synths, creepy claviolines, demonic drum machines, and eerie electronica...

1. Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind - The Shining (Main Title)
2. Kap Bambino - Batcaves
3. Relaxed Muscle - Beastmaster
4. Future Bible Heroes - I'm a Vampire
5. Ladytron - Miss Black
6. John Carpenter - Halloween Theme (Main Title)
7. Zombie Zombie - Walk Of The Dead
8. Broadcast - Evil Is Coming
9. Les Georges Leningrad - Cocktail Vampire
10. Suicide - Ghostrider
11. Mount Vernon Arts Lab – Hobgoblins
12. Stereo Total – Film D’Horreur
13. Lio - Bébé Vampire
14. I Monster - The Blue Wrath
15. The Moontrekkers - Return of The Vampires

>>DOWNLOAD QUELLE HORREUR VOL. 2 (57.1mb zip file)>>

[originally posted here >>]



***BONUS PIECE OF DISTURBING SCREAMO FREAKBEAT NASTINESS POUR VOUS***

Jacques Filh - Wraaaach!!!
[you can buy this Jacques Filh track on the new Beginner's Guide To French Pop compilation]

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Beginner's Guide To French Pop


Well looky here, a new compilation of 60s Frenchness has come my way  - the Beginner’s Guide To French Pop is touted as a “Triple CD set of the most thrilling 1960s French pop from the vaults of EMI full of classic yé- yé, Beatles-esque** hits & psych-pop all with a Gallic twist & compiled by Kid Loco”

What this means, is that there is a copy writer out there who really needs to work on breaking up their sentence structures; and, more enticingly, that French DJ and homme de l'électronique Kid Loco has been let loose in the French EMI archives, given free reign to plunder long deceased labels such as Odeon, Pathé Marconi, Trianon, Ducretet-Thomson, Columbia, and La Voix De Son Maître (His Master’s Voice, to you and me).


Now, the artwork/design really doesn't do it for me (it looks like the kind of thing you can only buy in petrol stations) and the sleeve notes are minimal, no detailed artist biographies here, instead Kid Loco provides us with a pithy one-liner about each track. What really hooked me was when I saw the tracklisting and only recognised 14 of the 45 artists, and even then not all of those individual tracks. Oh yeah and the fact that it was cheapcheapcheap - Here's my money, send me the CDs!

I wasn't expecting much of Disc One (1962-64). I was wrong. Mmmm, it gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling with its jazzy Hammond grooves, finger-poppin strut-alongs, Beatnik rhythm'n'blues, galloping surf guitars, exotic percussion, and big band orchestral pop. Thems were more innocent times, but I'm still getting that thrill of dropping the needle onto a crisp vinyl biscuit, hearing the pop and crackle, and then the full-on rush of those naïvely produced sounds all crammed together into a couple of minutes of treble-y hysteria. 

My faves? Les Chats Sauvages & Dick River's racey rock'n'roll surfer C'est Joli Comme; Curt Martin's Hammond instrumental re-working of Alice Dona's C'est Pas Prudent; Hector's Hong Kong, an as-unhinged-as-the-original, cover of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You; a sappy, pure pop with harpsichords ditty by Gérard Brent (who later played guitar for Jean-Pierre Massiera and Jacky Chalard!); and this moody, cinematic, comme John Barry, epic from Ken Lean. 


Ken Lean - La Nuit



Onto Disc Two (1965-66), and now we're swinging into more yé- yé territory: skipping past the lush orchestrations of Serge et Michele Arnaud's Les Papillons Noirs, Dani's pneumatic Ta Machine, and Christie Laume's just-on-the-right-side-of-out-of-tune L'Adorable Femme Des Neiges, you'll find some swoonsome orchestral pop and soulful big band belters, a dose of dark, sitar drenched psyché-rock, a couple of Northern Soul-style floor fillers, and even some Lee Hazlewood-esque baroque pop.


I got a bit foamy at the mouth over Les Ambitieux (who later became Les 5 Gentlemen) - an ultra-urgent beat-group calling everyone to DANSE! DANSE! DANSE! DANSE!; Ken Lean (again!) with some space-age easy-listening from WAYYY OUT; Dick Rivers (on his own this time) and coming over all dark and exotic with a bombastic sitar-psych dirge; Jennifer's John Barry-style spy-flick torch song; Regis Barly's Monsieur Qui Sait Tout - which sounds like it came from an amphetamine-fuelled Lee Hazlewood studio session; and best of all, this brassy Northern Soul femme-pop smasher, with those archetypal Gallic cascading bass runs and fuzz guitar licks all over it:


Nicole Legendre - Tu Veux Tout Changer




We've made it to Disc Three (1967-70). Phew! And we're heading into murkier, more prog-infested waters. One or two of the later tracks tend to drift off into endless, self-indulgent stoner jams, but there's still plenty of sinister, slow-burning psychedelia, trippy freakouts and popsike delights to keep you listening.

My picks are the terrifying screamo freakbeat that is Wraaaach!!! by Jacques Filh; Les Roche Martin's mysterious pop; a Jacqueline Taïeb song that was somehow overlooked  on the Complete Masterworks... comp; a delectable Donovan cover that's all cascading, minor key piano cords by Vér
onique Sanson; and two tracks from Charlotte Walters, including this punchy, cinematic popsike gem.

Charlotte Walters - Angel Of Sin




So, what did we learn? 'Beginner's Guide...' is maybe a bit of a misnomer. The budget price is sure to attract a few newcomers to the genre, but much of the music probably isn't immediate enough to hook a casual ear and make them want to dig deeper into the realm of vintage French Pop. 'Intermediate' or 'advanced level' are undoubtedly less catchy, but perhaps more accurate


Novices looking to dabble in the wonderful world of yé- yé would get a much better start with the 'best of' double CD Pop à Paris: Psyché Rock et Mini-Jupes or the more Femme-centric C'est Chic: French Girl Singers of the 1960s.



[You can get yr mitts on the Beginner's Guide To French Pop here >>]



** Fact checking types and eagle-eyed readers will notice that aside from the first paragraph I haven't once mentioned a certain ubiquitous band beginning with B. Nothing across the three discs owes very much to The Beatles at all, I can only think the term "Beatles-esque" was thrown in to the tagline as a shameless catch-all term to get a few extra sales. Either that or the Fab Four are now solely responsible for spawning any and all music that features guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.15

Bet you didn't expect another L'Amour à la Chaîne post quite so soon...

You can thank Darby for planting the seed for this next one. In response to Chaîne no. 14 (Johnny Hallyday's Son Amour Pour Un Jeu), she asked if I could post Françoise Hardy's later version of the song: L'Ombre. Which I duly did, here >>.

Next we have Miss Kittin & The Hacker: synthetic disco rhythms and filthy dirty synthesizers, with a bored sounding European girl making banal observations over the top. This is what we used to call "Electroclash" (Is that still a dirty word? Or is there enough distance yet to re-appraise the seedy/glam niteklub fad? Someone at The Quietus reckons there is >>)

This is taken from their inspiringly titled First Album, and we find Miss Kittin adrift in a vortex of swelling, synthesized strings and hard-edge, detuned oscillators, confessing her fears about the man in the shadows who lurks behind her...


...Ah, turns out she's just talking about The Hacker, though perhaps it's not such a sugary relationship: He seems to have enslaved her, and has taken her out on a never-ending tour, forcing her to sing every night in a new city, in her new life. No wonder she sounds so cold and emotionless. And no wonder it took so long for them to get together for album Two.

Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre
[you can purchase First Album from Zero"]

...................................................................
L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain?
Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour LaJohnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > Miss Kittin & The Hacker - L'Homme Dans L'Ombre > ?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

I found this, lurking in the shadows...

Darby left a comment requesting a song in relation to the last two L'Amour à la Chaîne posts...

As mentioned in those posts, Françoise Hardy recorded a version of the song Son Amour Pour Un Jeu in English under the title Strange Shadows (and this was more recently covered in a dreamy, mellotron-tinged version by Fabienne Delsol). Françoise also recorded her own French language version, L'Ombre. And this is what Darby has requested.


The recording has the same arrangement as Strange Shadows, and I'd be willing to bet the same instrumental backing was used for both, however the French version has just a little more yearning in the vocal, which just clinches it for me.

Françoise Hardy - L'Ombre
[this is taken from her 1970 album Soleil]

Monday, 22 October 2012

Under Her Spell

The Cat's Eyes album was one of my favourites of 2011, so I'm dead excited that Rachel Zeffira,  one half of the feline sighted duo, has a solo album on the way in December.

She's posted a little teaser for the album: Break The Spell sounds like John Carpenter soundtracking Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising, if it were set in a far-East dystopian metropolis.  Racing, arpeggiated synths, epic chamber strings, ethereal death-disc choirs, and eerie, exotic delights.  Mmmm-mmm, give it a listen, and download it for free from her soundcloud page...




There is also a video for the album title track on youtube.


Rachel Zeffira's album The Deserters is released on her own label RAF Records on the 10th December, there is more info on her facebook page, and a proper interview on the Quietus website.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.14

Heeeeeeeeeeeere's JOHNNY! Hot on the heels of Chaîne no. 13, and making his London concert debut at the Royal Albert Hall this week, it's Johnny Hallyday.

Listen up! More multiple linkage coming your way >>>>>

link 1) The last post was Fabienne Delsol's sassy cover of Sylvie Vartan. As you should all know, Sylvie and Johnny were married in 1965 and were the "golden couple" of the yé-yé scene.

link 2) Sylvie's song Ce Jour La was written by Micky Jones and Georges Aber, whilst Johnny's is credited to G. Aber / M. Jones / T. Brown (the same Micky and Georges, with session drummer Tommy).

link 3) Micky Jones and Tommy Brown played in both Sylvie and Johnny's backing bands.

link 4) An English language version of the song Son Amour Pour Un Jeu was recorded by Françoise Hardy in 1969 as Strange Shadows. Fabienne Delsol made a version of Strange Shadows for her On My Mind album, which also features, you guessed it, Ce Jour La.

Managing to keep up? Good. Today's offering is Son Amour Pour Un Jeu, plucked from Johnny's imaginatively titled 1967 studio album Johnny 67 (Disque Philips no. B 70434 L). And let's just say it's almost a dead cert that Johnny won't be performing this one at the Royal Albert Hall...

pipe up Johnny!


Johnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu
[you can buy this re-issued on Le Roi De France: 1966-1969 on RPM International]

...................................................................
L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour La > Johnny Hallyday - Son Amour Pour Un Jeu > ?

L'Amour à la Chaîne pt.13

Right, where were we? Somewhere in the not-too-distant past I posted part 12 of this verrrry slowwwwly progressing Chaîne: It was Jacques Dutronc covers band DUTRONC, but they were covering Les Problèmes - recorded at Toe Rag studios with Liam Watson at the helm, and released on Damaged Goods Records.

I've got multiple linkage for you with this next one >>>>>>>


C'est Fabienne Delsol with a candy-coated cover version of Sylvie Vartan's Ce Jour La (written by Micky Jones and Georges Aber).

Now, Fabienne's hubby is one Liam Watson [check], who has of course overseen production duties, making good use of all that vintage valve-powered gear he's got racked up down at Toe Rag [check] - the recording oozes analogue warmth and sounds like it really could have been released back in the early 60s, rather than coming out on Miss Delsol's swoonsome On My Mind album on Damaged Goods [check] in 2010. Oh yeah, the album also includes a cover of Pas Adieu by Les Problèmes [check].


Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour La
[buy this direct from Damaged Goods Records]

...................................................................
L'Amour à la Chaîne: what will be the next link in the chain? Leave your suggestions and reasons in the comments.
Jacques Dutronc - L'Amour à la ChaîneFrançoise Hardy - Je Changerais D'Avis > Les 5 Gentlemen – Cara-Lin > Add N To (X) – Monster Bobby > Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinçonneur des Lilas > Les Shades – Orage Mécanique > Gillian Hills - Rentre Sans Moi > Zombie Zombie - Psychic Harmonia > Michel Polnareff - Qui a Tué Grand'Maman? > Christine Pilzer - L'Horloge De Grand-PèreViolaine - J'ai Des Problèmes Décidement > Dutronc - Dodecaphonie > Fabienne Delsol - Ce Jour La > ?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

RED HOT POKER

Eeeee, I've got a right little belter for ya! Get ready to put on yr best poker face, here comes Larry Gréco?


Larry's exhumed the tub-thumping ghost of Gene Krupa (who wasn't even dead at time of recording!) and roped in some raucous yackety-sax and bold-as brass to back him up, and he means BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!

Get yr dancing socks on, it's frug time!

Larry Gréco - Comme Au Poker
[again, you can buy this re-issued on the monumental Disques Motors 3-disc boxset]


Afterthought: I always thought this was a blinding cover of You've Got What I Want - a gutsy non-hit  by snotty 60s R&B combo The Sorrows' (watch a viciously vital live video here >>>). But a bit of rooting around suggests maybe not: Larry's version came out in 65, The Sorrows was released in 66 = You do the maths.

Monday, 1 October 2012

meanwhile, back in 1612...


We're getting a little damp in the crotch about this new record by The Eccentronic Research Council, a brave high-concept  album/long-form electronic sound poem, based around the events of the Pendle Witch Trials of August 1612, and performed by electronic musician-producers Adrian Flanagan and Dean Honer with actress Maxine Peake.

There is a free mp3 (or mpfree) of an early demo Her Kind Wicked Sister available via the ERC Tumblr site. Which proves that you can be high-concept, experimental and pop all at the same time: It's ace, like Shostakovich gone analogue-pop, with a gritty monologue from a paganistic kitchen-sink melodrama,  and a rabble of chanting black-magic kids dancing sing-song circles round and round and round.
>> GET YR FREE PAGAN POP HERE >>>>


1612 Underture by The Eccentronic Research Council  is available on ltd. hand made vinyl, CD and Download through the Finders Keepers Records 'Bird' imprint. You can read an elaborate précis, listen to soundclips, and purchase it here >>>>>>>>>>


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bonjour Tristesse

Sam requested something darker and more melancholy, which goes completely against my current mood, but I do always try to oblige reader's requests (within reason!).

This is a dark and epic François de Roubaix instrumental from the 1968 Robert Enrico film Tante Zita. A film with death as its central theme - ah French films, never afraid to tackle the BIG themes!


I used to play this quite a lot at our sister night Tonight We Fly. It is so terribly melancholy, but in a beautifully fragile and uplifting way.

François de Roubaix - Tante Zita: Loin (version instrumentale)
[you can buy this re-issued on the monumental Disques Motors 3-disc boxset]


I have to say, based on all I've read about the film, I wasn't expecting the trailer to be quite so upbeat...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ripping Vinyl - France Gall

I promised a France Gall vinyl rip, so here are 2 songs that were not included on the Made In France compilation, but date from the same era.


I warn you now, despite successive attempts at cleaning this record, the tracks are still rather crackly (hence my decision not to post the other 2 tracks which are both readily available on various FG compilations already). If any readers out there are any good at removing hiss and crackle from audio files, and fancy trying to clean them up, drop me a line and I'd be happy to share the masters.

Right, onto business!

Le Premier Chagrin D'Amour is a gentle number co-written by France's papa, with some easy-listening brass that Mr. Bacharach himself would have been proud of.  Okay, it's not her catchiest song, but it's not just vinyl-filler either.

On T'Avait Prévenue finds France crammed into the vocal booth with a gang of menacing sounding school-friends. Yep, we're back in altogether more yé-yé territory. I really can't understand why this hasn't appeared on any re-issues, its catchy, bouncy, jangly, cute, there's some tasty guitar licks, and Alain Goraguer is at the helm: surely all things that make a bonafide French 60s pop hit?



France Gall - Le Premier Chagrin D'Amour

France Gall - On T'Avait Prévenue

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Space is the place

I've been meaning to post this song for a couple of months, and with the news that one of the original astro-heroes Neil Armstrong died this week, it's given me half an excuse...

I think I probably first heard it at the ace Da Doo Ron Ron club, and I had to email Chris the DJ the next day to find out what the hell that French femme version of Peter Thomas' Space Patrol was. When I eventually tracked it down it was every bit as good as I remembered, even away from the sweaty fug and blistering noise of a tiny backroom club.

So enjoy Commando Spatial, and when you next look up at the moon give Neil a wink, as his family has requested...



Virginie Rodin - Commando Spatial
[you can now buy this on the Femmes De Paris edition speciale box set]


And here's the original Peter Thomas Sound Orchester version - a retro-futurist wet dream...

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Made In France by France


Well I finally got round to buying myself a copy of Made In France: France Gall's Baby Pop - that CD I was getting all hot under the collar about a couple of months ago.

Now, all the publicity blurb for the release has been just a teenie weenie bit mis-leading: Perhaps making out that all the tracks are Gainsbourg-penned (to be honest if I'd just looked a little more closely at the tracklisting, I could have told myself that nope Serge certainly didn't write all of those for Mademoiselle Gall). But that's not to say it ain't all good!

The running order is ace, they’ve clearly approached it like a good mix tape: with injections of stomping exuberance lifting the pace whenever the subtler slowies and mid-tempo compositions lull you off into dreamland. Particular treats for me are the pure joy of Cet Air Là followed by the ever-so-slightly sinister Attends Ou Va-T’en; the heavy strings of Tu N’As Pas Le Droit; the harpsichord pop of Le Temps De La Rentrée; the woozy exotica of Chanson Indienne and Nefertiti; oh, and you get all the more “well-known” hits, from the galloping Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son to the bad trip woes of Teenie Weenie Boppie and of course the salacious double entendres of Les Sucettes (if you don’t know about Les Sucettes, watch this video…)


Just a few minor gripes from this happy listener:
- The sleeve notes are a bit shonky - terribly written and rather pedestrian: you won't learn much more than you can find out on wikipedia! Which is a shame, because RPM have, in the past, put together some very fine inlays with fanatically scribed liner notes.
- There is one Serge song missing from this era that would have made a lot of people very happy. Admittedly it was never officially released but why, oh why couldn’t they have got hold of the tapes of the Gall and Gainsbourg duet Dents De Lait, Dents De Loup?
- There is also a glaring spelling mistake in the tracklisting: "Nous Nous Sommes Pas Des Anges", anyone?

I’m probably picking too many holes in what is essentially a damn fine compilation that manages to strike the fine balance of working as a perfect introduction to France Gall's classic 60s yé-yé material, AND also has enough obscurities to give an old hack like me, who has all the obvious stuff, a few treats too!

My current fave is the title track Made In France: a subtle little tête-à-tête pitching all the good things that come from England (David Bailey, Mary Quant, the jerk, Radio Caroline, mini skirts, long hair, Julie Christie and, er, Shetland ponies) against all the good things made in France (Gauloises, pétanque, the Eiffel Tower, Maurice Chevalier, Camembert, Beaujolais, Pastis…). The romp concludes with what would appear to be an ahead-of-its-time argument about who made the tunnel under the English Channel/La Manche: “No, made in England” they chorus; “No. Made. In. France!” stomps an incorrigible little miss Gall, and you suspect the French won that bout.

France Gall - Made In France
[you can buy Made In France: France Gall's Baby Pop direct from RPM/Cherry Red, and at a very good price too!]


France Gall fans should stay tuned for some ripped vinyl treats coming very soon...

Friday, 24 August 2012

They are Add N To (X)

Quite a while ago, I was bemoaning the disappearance from YouTube of this short Channel 4 film about our fave analogue synth abusers Add N To (X).

Thanks to Romain on facebook for flagging it up...



Be quick and watch it, it could be taken down again by next week!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A Sound British Adventure

If you're quick you might still get to listen to A Sound British Adventure, on the BBC Radio 4 iPlayer. Presented by Stewart Lee ("the only person the BBC could find, with a radio-friendly voice, who had actually been to a Stockhausen concert"), it focuses on the post-war years when a cottage industry of electronic musicians develped in Britain cobbling together sound-generating machines from army surplus radio gear, and producing electronic music that at the time was seen as throw-away, low-art, whilst their peers in Europe and the USA were regarded as exponents of high-art and funded accordingly.

Here's the programme synopsis:
Comedian Stewart Lee is passionate about electronic music and he take us on a remarkable musical journey. We discover how, after the Second World War, a small group of electronic pioneers began tinkering with their army surplus kit to create new sounds and music.
Tristram Cary started the first electronic music studio in Britain but, while France, Germany, Italy and the USA had lavishly funded research centres, British electronic music remained the preserve of boffins on a budget.

As the programme reveals, this make do and mend approach prevailed long after austerity Britain had given way to the swinging 60s, with Peter Zinovieff developing EMS synthesizers from a shed at the bottom of his garden in Putney. (Paul McCartney put on his wellies and took a look). Zinovieff is interviewed about his experiments in sound.

Unsurprisingly, the electronic community in Britain was a small, intimate group and joining Cary and Zinovieff was Daphne Oram, who devoted decades to developing a 'drawn sound' electronic composition system that never really quite worked.

Brian Hodgson tells us about 1960s experimental and electronic festivals, including The Million Volt Light and Sound Rave (1967) at which The Beatles' electronic piece Carnival Of Light had its only public airing. We shall also hear how the radiophonic workshop broke new musical ground with Dr. Who.

Experts in the history of electronic music, including author and musician Mark Ayers and Goldsmiths College lecturer in computer studies Dr. Michael Grierson give the boffins' view and Portishead's Adrian Utley explains why the early forays in electronics are still relevant today.
It's available on the BBC iPlayer until Tuesday morning >> LISTEN HERE

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

the Addict on the box

An abridged version of this advert may have caught yr eyes and ears on the telly lately: heavily influenced by Roger Vadim's Et Dieu... Créa La Femme, and with assorted Nouvelle Vague references thrown in (the Madison scene from Bande à Part, and Umbrellas of Cherbourg, anyone?), plus music by our fave Franco-German lo-fi/punk/rockabilly/8-bit/electronic pop/trash duo Stereo Total. Even for someone who finds the whole "perfume thing" over-rated, over-expensive, throat stinging and eye-watering, the Dior Addict advert is a visual and aural treat*



It's not the first time Stereo Total's I Love You, Ono has been used in an advert, and we hope that Plastics get a little cut of the royalties on each and every play, for it was they who wrote the song.


[If anyone out there has any music by Plastics, we would love to hear it - get in touch.]


*trust me, you absolutely will not see me heading for the nearest perfume counter.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Ripping Vinyl - April March

I can't believe it's been nearly 4 months since I posted that ace early 60s Tienou 45! But I have finally made myself a little time to get some more vinyl ripped, and now I just need to find the time to post it. So if you enjoy this one, please do leave a comment and it will certainly encourage me to post some more...

Today we have a rare and tasty treat from April March: a 10" clear vinyl ep Dans les yeux d'April March, with Bertrand Burgalat on production duties, released in 1999 on French label Tricatel (the first release from their 'Tricatel Club' series).


Track 1 is a sparkling synth/lounge pop re-working of Chantal Goya’s delectable Mon Ange Gardien. This is a slightly different mix to the version you may have heard on All's Fair In Love and Chick Factor, with cleaner production and a little lighter on the reverb and effects.

April March - Mon Ange Gardien

Glucide is a purely instrumental mix of the song Sugar (the opener on her Chrominance Decoder album). Removing April’s (occasionally too cloyingly) sweet vocal has allowed Monsieur Burgalat’s retro-futurist production sensibilities to shine. The result: a sinister 70s synth-funk workout.

April March - Glucide



And first on Face B is Magic Ass: A raw'n'gutsy freakbeat-y number, with a cool sitar breakdown and a chorus which seems to go “Cos Johnny’s is a magic… I can tell by the way she walks”. I like to think it’s a reference to Jane Birkin’s character in the taboo Gainsbourg-directed film Je T’aime, Moi Non Plus. Magic Ass indeed!

Whoever Johnny is, the song is ace and I defy you not to get up and get down to it!

April March - Magic Ass


The final track is another instrumental (this time a version of Mignonette, also from Chrominance Decoder), and it would seem Burgalat’s intention here was to give April her very own Brigitte Bardot Show-style dance workout. Dance, April, dance!

April March - Ningette


[Dans Les Yeux d'April March has long been deleted, but there are 2nd hand copies out there if you are willing to pay good money, see Discogs.com or CDandLP.com.]

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

RIP Chris Marker


We were sad to hear news that Chris Marker has died at the age of 91.

Born Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve, Marker apparently took his professional name from the Magic Marker pen. His 1962 "essay film" La Jetée, is perhaps his most famous work: a 29 minute short made up of mostly still images depicting a near-future dytsopian love story seen through the eyes of a time traveller; the film was hugely influential and became the blueprint for Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys.

La Jetée is a favourite here at L'Amour Electronique HQ, and we showed it many times on our little TV back in the Penthouse days.



If you enjoyed that, another of our favourite Marker films is Sans Soleil, which is shot mainly in Japan, and features an EMS synthesiser which translates sound into visual imagery. You can watch that here.

Friday, 27 July 2012

She's Francoise, it's not her fault

This video combines 3 things that I love: Françoise Hardy, Paris and neon.

I love her knowing smile just before she sings "A girl like many others"...

 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

VERY VERY BAD THINGS

Owing to huge popularity - nearly 230 downloads to date (Ahem, would be nice if some of those people would be good enough to leave a comment to say thank you...) - and by request of Monsieur Guuzbourg I've finally had time to post this other Ewa Swann track.

If you missed Le Couer Fou, a lilting, yet twisted piece of J-C Vannier lolita-pop, you can get it here.


Now, if Le Couer Fou is a chanson to wild, tragic love, I imagine this - the A-side - could only be the soundtrack to VERY VERY BAD THINGS happening

Take a listen for yourself, and don't have nightmares...

Ewa Swann - Pour Quelques Secondes
[There are no re-issues of this to my knowledge, but as stated previously, the vinyl 45 is currently going for a fairly handsome sum on cdandlp.com]

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tour de France

Bon chance to "mod cyclist" Bradley Wiggins who sets out today to be the first ever Brit to win the Tour de France. The French media have nick-named him "Le Gentleman" due to his sportsman-like behaviour (he slowed down during stage 14 to allow other riders, who had fallen victim to tacks scattered on the road, to catch up) and his modest, quiet demeanour. The fact that he speaks very good French has probably helped too!

With the tradition for competitors not to challenge the leader on the final stage of the tour, victory is surely a fait accompli and he'll be whistling all the way to the Champs-Elysées...

Stereo Total - Tour De France
[buy this on Baby Ouh! by Stereo Total from the hanseplatte shop]

Whilst you're here, you may as well enjoy the original Kraftwerk version with new improved video visuals!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A Guide to Electronic Music



We at L'Amour Electronique have enjoyed one or two "history of electronic music" comps in our brief lifetime: Uncut's Dawn of Electronica - which focussed on the late 70s-early 80s; and Rough Trade's Electronic 01 - a more historical overview placing pioneers next to pop stars; both spring to mind.


So it's about time we had a new collection of the genre, which at it's broadest takes in everything from simple tone generation, through musique concrète, analogue synthesis, synth pop, sampling, drum machines, acid house, techno, glitchy electronica and beyond.


A Guide to Electronic Music is a new compilation "developed out of a project to create a Facebook timeline charting the development of electronic music from the late 19th Century until now."
"Bleep.com's guide to Electronic Music is a 55 track compilation charting the historical emergence of electronic music by looking at landmark tracks from the 1930s up to present day.

Our aim with this selection of music is to show the length and breadth of the medium, providing a snapshot of the genres forms and styles, and the development of the artform. Whilst there are omissions and compromises that we have had to make, we hope that we achieve our aims and we do some justice to the variety of music that we love.

This compilation developed out of a project to create a Facebook timeline charting the development of electronic music from the late 19th Century until now."
For me there are one or two things conspicuous in their absence: 55 tracks and no Kraftwerk! And also a lack of artists from that late70s/early 80s wave of synth pop (weren't the early Hip Hop pioneers supposed to be dropping Numan at their block parties?). I'd have liked a song or two less of the stuff from 1990 to present in favour of one or two extra oldies, but that's just me.

A Guide to Electronic Music is available as a download only (in mp3, wav, flac formats) from Bleep.com. And I shall be putting my money down on a copy later this week...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Laetitia Sadier breaks her silence

Fans of space-age jazz-pop groop Stereolab will be pleased to hear Laetitia Sadier is releasing a new album Silencio on 23rd July. She was in talking politics, unmemorable recording sessions, epiphanies in churches, the ongoing Stereolab hiatus, and why more bands should be sticking it to the man, to Radcliffe & Maconie on their 6music show yesterday. Listen to the full interview (with abridged songs*) below.


* The new songs are sounding a lot more carefully crafted and immediate than some of her previous output - all signs point to GOOD.  You can hear them in their entirety by listening to the full radio show on the iPlayer (available until 1pm on Monday 16th July)

Radio 4 Extra goes Radiophonic

In a rare moment of synchronicity (following my Radiophonic Workshop post yesterday), I was excited to hear an advert for a documentary* on BBC Radio 4 Extra this Saturday morning and evening.


Selected Radiophonic Works (9am - 12noon & 7pm - 10pm, Saturday 14 July 2012**)

Richard Coles tells the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop's extraordinary story.

In 1958 an extraordinary musical laboratory opened at the BBC. It was called the Radiophonic Workshop and provided music and sound for a wealth of BBC programmes, from The Goons to Dr Who.

With contributions from Coldcut, Dick Mills and Mark Ayres, Richard Coles explores the achievements of the unit and presents a carefully chosen selection of programmes showcasing the department's work.
 Very much looking forward to a Radiophonic Saturday morning here at L'Amour Electronique HQ...

* It seems to be a repeat of a programme first aired in 2008.
** Should also be available on the iPlayer for 7 days after - I'll post a link in the comments after the broadcast.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday evening
I'm currently listening back to the 3 hour marathon broadcast. It's made up of various old programmes and archive clips, and presented by Richard Coles (who use to be in Bronski Beat and is now a vicar).

The first part is a great introduction to the Workshop looking at key members and examples of their recordings, in the context of other musique concrète, and how they were created (the tardis sound in the Dr Who theme was a key scraping up a bass piano string!).

The start of middle section is somewhat disturbing: an extended sequence called Within Dreams, in which various voices relate disturbing recurrent nightmares over a minimal Delia Derbyshire electronic soundscape.

Next is a full episode of The Goon Show parodying/paying homage to Quatermass & The Pit.

The final hour looks at the later period when the Workshop brought in a few EMS synthesisers to aid sound and tone generation.  Particular highlights: Inferno Revisited by Peter Howell, an imagined guided tour through Dante's Inferno, which took 6 weeks to complete and "practically exhausted the Workshop's Fairlight".

phew!

Monday, 9 July 2012

eine kleine lift muzak

It was the wee, small hours as I was passing through Gatwick Airport recently. I found myself stood in a lift full of over-tired Brits, inappropriately dressed for an inclement British summer night, as they returned sun-blushed and liver-pickled from their package-holidays in the Costa-del-Sun.

In a distorted, almost apologetic voice, the elevator spake: GOING DOWN

A split-second of weightlessness sent a shiver up my spine and we descended; a faint smile passed across my face as Malcolm Clarke from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop programmed the behemoth "Delaware" which fed whimsical electronic lift-muzak into my ears...


Malcolm Clarke (BBC Radiophonic Workshop) - La Grande Pièce de la Foire de la Rue Delaware
[buy this on Music From The BBC Radiophonic Workshop on vinyl from discogs.com, or on CD re-issue of the 1975 album The Radiophonic Workshop from amazon.co.uk]

...I was very nearly tempted to step back through the shutting doors, press a button and enjoy my Radiophonic lift experience for just a little longer, but I had a bus to catch and a bed waiting for me to rest my own weary head.



Friday, 6 July 2012

Oh so high

Yesterday, all eyes were on the London skyline as Europe's new "tallest building" The Shard was opened in a laser show that might have made Jean-Michel Jarre jealous...


...had Jean-Michel Jarre not been able to play his lasers, that is!

It doesn't actually look that tall in real life, and I can't say I'll be queuing up to pay 25 quid to see the view from the top.  No, this post is really just an excuse to give you some L'Amour Electronique friendly songs about tall buildings.



Serge Gainsbourg - New York USA
[Gainsbourg's New York USA was re-issued on Couleur Cafe and Comme Un Boomerang, both still available]


The Human League - Empire State Human
[you can buy Reproduction by The Human League from yr favourite online music emporium]