Arthur and Martha : Autovia EP (Happy Robots Recordings)
Nobody was more surprised then me when Saloon disbanded a few years ago. The band were surely at their pinnacle, with a superior second album "If we'll meet in the future" under their belt and a number one in John Peel's festive fifty.
But not to worry, as here comes Arthur and Martha, a duo formed by former Saloon member Adam Cresswell together with Alice Hubley and their simply divine electropop debut "autovia". They describe themselves as Gilbert and George disguised as the Carpenters stealing the hits of Kraftwerk and I couldn't have put it much better."Autovia" is a gorgeous, glistening, gliding electropop beauty which calls to mind "Isi" by Neu or "Deluxe (immer weider)" by Harmonia covered by the Pet Shop Boys.The lyrics go "autovia, take me anywhere but far from here" and I could just imagine myself driving away to the end of the world while this song is being played on an endless loop. Pure electro bliss for happy robots. It must also be one of the most well-dressed singles of recent times, with the wonderful sleeve design recalling Peter Saville at his best.
It is nearly inconcevable : I'm holding the new album from Bubblegum Pop Wizard Paul Bevoir in my hands and can even genuinely listen to it !!! Indeed, Mr Bevoir is such a perfectionist that, if it'd only depend on him, this "In days of Wonder" would never be released !!! Happily, the people from Accident Records forced him under the knife to give them the mastertapes...and the result is beyond all words and understandings
In place of using unnecessary superlatives, let's submit Mr Bevoir to a psychoanalysis session on this occasion :
How did you start making music and how did you happen to be part of Mari Wilson's backing band ?
I was a music obsessive as a child, always playing records, and reading every word on the record's label, who wrote the song, who produced it. I think I was just born this way. My dad had a guitar and I learned how to play. But it was only when i became friends with Mike Levison in my teens, that I realised how bad I was! I wrote my first songs with Mike, he taught me everything! So blame him please! (I can supply his email). In the late 1970's, I was a fan of a pop group called 'Advertising'. I became friends with them, and one of the members, Tot Taylor, began writing songs for Mari Wilson. When she eventually needed a group to play live, Tot asked me if I would help out. I was only in the Imaginations (as they were called then) for a few months, but we did many gigs during that time.
Well, Tot Taylor was a very clever chappie. A real 'ideas'man. I thought he was a great songwriter, so when he asked me to write some songs for his ‘Compact' label, I couldn't believe it! I didn't think he ever needed anyone else. Compact released my first ever solo recording, so again, all blame is with them! (any complaints should be directed to Tot… But sorry, I don't have an email address for him).
Speaking of ‘Compact’, any anecdote about this 1985 TV performance with Virna Lindt from YouTube ?It was a
Who was behind the "concept" of your band the Jetset? Are you still in regular contact with former members ?
The Jetset was a band I started with my friends. But it was only when Paul Bultitude (who had also been in the band Advertising' with Tot Taylor) began to get involved, that it became more 'conceptual'. Most of the visual ideas were his, i just wrote some songs to fit his vision.
Two other ex members of the Jetset (Angus Nanan & Mickey Dias) still work with me today, on live concerts and recordings, along with Mike Levison (my first songwriting partner) and my good friend Richard Fairclough (another very talented fellow!).
After your last solo effort, the "Dumb Angel" album, you've had a huge success in
Oh yes, the millions arrive in huge sacks everyday ha ha! Believe me, it's impossible for me to make a living doing music, you need really great success for that, unfortunately, one good selling record in
How much time have you actually been busy on “In Days of Wonder”?
I started this 'new' album 12 years ago, so you can see how very productive I am! Well, the way the album has finally ended up, it has only 2 songs from the original album project, the rest are all fairly new songs. So in that respect, it's only been about 3 years (which is still a long time for something that's all over in 40 minutes!)
Amongst these songs, there is a fabulous duet with the young talented Belgian singer Marine Boréale...How did you come to meet her?
We 'met through the miracle of Myspace. Joachim Jannin (Marine's partner and composer) wrote to me. He's such a gifted writer (and performer too!) and I loved her voice and his songs so very much, it was an honour to be asked. I love that song. They should both be huge stars! I'm sure they will be.
Any particular pop band you feel connected to nowadays ?I have to say, the Myspace thing has opened my ears to so much great music that I never would have heard without it. Joachim & Marine are a perfect example of this. I've made some great friends too (like you j-m) and my super friend 'Guille Milkyway' who is the genius behind the fantastic '
Your last word for our dear readers who went through this interview till the very last question...
Just to say that Jean-Michel is a genius. A true encylopedia of pop music knowledge. Hang on to his every word, I've learned so much from him, so maybe you can too! He is our teacher! And we will never stop learning! Oh yes, and I hope that anyone who might buy this new album will enjoy it for a while before they exchange it for the 'complete collection' by 'the Smurfs'! Oh, and love to everyone of course…
=> Buy "In days of Wonder" HERE and enjoy !!!
V/A : Moving Soundtracks (LTM Recordings)
After "Ghosts of Christmas Past", "From Brussels with Love" and "The Fruit of the original Sin", this CD reissue is closing down the magical square of LTM - expanded and enhanced- rehabilitations of classic Crépuscule vynil compilations.
The distinctiveness of "Moving Soundtracks" lies in many aspects :
- it mainly gathers cover versions of movie tracks played by label and non-label artists (Paul Haig, Wim Mertens, Antena, Virna Lindt, Jean-Paul Goude & Virginia Astley, Blaine L Reininger...) . In this regard, it can be considered as the most "accessible" and most ecclectic Crépuscule compilation.
- originally commissioned by Michel Duval for Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1983, it never was released as a vinyl in its original version. It only reappeared 8 years later in the form of a CD release, expanded for the first time with several more recent covers like "The Experiment in Terror" by La Muerte or "Arabesque" by full-time reprise band The Wayfarers, both originally written by Henry Mancini.
- although he could not keep the original Ennio Morricone and Cabaret Voltaire tracks on this LTM reedition (for copyright reasons I guess), James Nice got some bright ideas for this "second generation" expansion, adding great songs like Tot Taylor's original "Blowproof", Thick Pigeon's "Moon River", and an amazing cover of "You only live twice" by obscure French band Cosey Corner (who recorded an unreleased album on Crépuscule, produced by Steven Brown)
=> The Dream Makers : "La Chanson d'Hélène" (Philippe Sarde/Jean-Loup Dabadie) from the 1970 Claude Sautet's film "Les Choses de la vie"
The Dream Makers were Virginia Astley and Jean-Paul Goude with Blaine L. Reininger on violin. I also love Marina Céleste version of this song on her "Cinéma enchanté" album released in Japan with Marc Collin (Nouvelle Vague) in 2006 :
Barbara Carlotti : L'idéal (Beggars / 4AD)
For sure, Barbara Carlotti has a very unique place under the sun of 4AD catalog and seing her standing besides the likes of Blonde Redhead and...Scott Walker is quite an hallucinating affair...
For this second full-length, the list of collaborations is again at the cutting edge, a sort of golden rule for the French demoiselle, especially on the musical point of view : Jean-Philippe Verdin (Readymade FC) at production and keyboards, Mehdi Zannad (from the lovely Fugu) for strings arrangements, Bertrand Belin or Patrick Watson as special guest singers, just to name a few...
A very charming essay again, full of ease and elegance, a bit old-fashioned (but with less 60's accents than on the former "Les Lys Brisés"), an invitation to cry and to smile...Before being a melodist, Barbara is a song-craftswoman...Before being a singer, Barbara is an interpreter... And before being a lyricist, Barbara is a poet.
Poland : Schoolboy Crush on Che Guevara (Class M Records)
With their mixture of jazz, easy listening and chamber pop, Indonesian band "White Shoes and the Couple Company" had no equivalent in Western world...until the fresh arrival of this 2nd essay from Seattle band Poland.
Kuryakin : "Fought a War EP" (Fastcut) + "Still Here EP"& "Onie 7"" (Shelflife)
Just when you think the well of great new Swedish bands must have dried up, another one comes along. Actually, that's not quite correct as far as Kuryakin (named after a character from the 60's spy series the man from U.N.C.L.E) is concerned, as they have been going since 2003 when Petter Gjöres and Johan Norberg began making music together in
In 2006 their lovely twinkly cover of the Electric Prunes "Onie", sounding like Simon and Garfunkel produced by Saint Etienne, ended up on Friendly Noise records compilation "Are you scared to get happy". And now finally Kuryakin get round to releasing some records of their own.They've just released the "Fought a war" EP on the Japanese Fastcut label and a 7"+CDEP on the revitalised Shelflife records is to follow. "Fought a war" itself sounds like the Kings of Convenience at their loveliest (think "Toxic girl") but the real gem is hidden on the b-side (actually, isn't it a bit cheeky to call something an ep, when there is only one A and B side ?) in the song called "rain", which could hold it's head up high in the company of that superior debut album "Here comes the future" by the Honeydrips of last year.
As for what we’ve heard from the Shelflife issue so far, in addition to the above-mentioned “Rain” and “Onie”, “Take My Hands” sounds like a bright mixture of Radio Dept and the Avalanches while “A parade” and “Snow” are respectively true to Postal Service and Plastic Operator best efforts…
No small recommendation I should think !