You'll find a cornucopia of tasty tunes to bounce off your eardrums. I update with new tunes, art and photography every week, depending on what I'm doing and listening to at the time, old and new. I'm based in London UK but I love to travel and discovery new music along the way and share my musical journey on neoloop.
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Neomix Volume Two
Finally after so many people bugging me, I've put together another mixtape in the Neoloop series Neomix (I guess I can call it a series now there is a second volume!). Volume Two is as eclectic as the first and covers all the stuff we love on Neoloop.
Tracklisting is as follows:
Heard this while sitting in a café in Bordeaux, it's a cool laid-back lounge version of an old eighties song by Etienne Daho. This new version of Le Grand Sommeil (The Big Sleep) recorded with Etienne Daho by Ginger Ale for his tribute album Tombés Pour Daho which also features a variety of French artistes - Sébastien Tellier, Benjamin Biolay Feat. Elli Medeiros, Avril and Ready Made FC.
Etienne's original version featured on his second 1984 LP La Notte La Notte... Ginger Ales lead singer, Angèle David-Guillou's seductive voice is wonderful and the cool baseline transforms the song sounding way better than the original. TRÈS BIEN!
One of SOLAAR's best
Getting my French Hip-Hop on today - Originally a single in 1993 Mc Solaar samples Bonnie and Clyde, the emphatic Serge Gainsborg's duet with Brigitte Bardot. Gainsbourg released the original tune on two albums in 1968: Gainsbourg's album Initials B.B., and Gainsbourg and Bardot's album Bonnie and Clyde.
MC Solaar is adapted from his old graffiti tags SOAR and SOLAAR which he used to spray on the walls of his local housing estate.
Following the success of his eponymous debut - Qui Sème le Vent Récolte le Tempoin in his native France, Solaar shot to prominence on the back of his second album that Nouveau Western is taken from - Prose Combat was Solaar's breakthrough, spreading further afield gaining fans across Europe, Africa and and state side. This still sounds good, if a little retro. Serge, I'm sure would have been well into it.
The parents do not understand us
Les parents ne nous comprennent pas! Picked up this soundtrack while on my travels around France, in a quirky little music shop in Bordeaux. I haven't seen the film that it soundtracks, it's called Le bal des actrices  (The Ball of the Actresses) a French film directed by Maïwenn. A film about a director that, while shooting a documentary about all kinds of actresses, falls for one of them. Linh-Dan Pham plays herself, born in 1974 she is a French actress of Vietnamese descent. As it turns out she's not a bad singer either with her cute Vietnamese ascent singing in French. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty good too!
Impressions de voyage
Avec son nouvel album Les passagers, Berry nous donne rendez-vous pour un voyage en première classe.
Elise Pottier AKA Berry's second album is all about traveling with the one you love. I spent last week driving around France with this on repeat (together with Sebastian Tellier's excellent new album - My God is Blue) and it's a beautify crafted album of folky songs and french pop with a Gainsbourg-esque arrangements holding it all together. This, the title track is my current favourite. Following her excellent debut Mademoiselle this is the perfect follow-up, recommended.
Like this? Try: Francoise Hardy, Jane Burkin, Olivia Ruiz
Sébastien Tellier returns with new album My God Is Blue, produced by Mr Flash. Looking more like the messiah with every release Tellier's trademark beard and long messy hair is symphonious with his own brand of sexy-disco electronica. The frenchman's music remains in the high quality bracket, all the usual influences are omni present, the old styles of Philippe Nicaud, Serge Gainsbourg and Jean-Claude Vannier to the contemporary sounds of Air, Daft Punk and Bertrand Bergalat. Cochon Ville is the lead single released with a suitably erotic video of naked dancers in gods own disco. Tellier always does just enough to remain on the right edge of kitsch with an electro-pop sound that could have been released anytime in the last thirty years or far into the future. Future-retro maybe?! Sedulous is my choice pick of this LP, a slow jam that Serge Gainsbourg would be proud of, a dramatic drum roll strolls into a slow digi-funk beat with a waltzing horn section and funky quitar stabs. Good to have you back Sébastien! HIGHLY RECOMMEDED!
Histoire de Melody Nelson (40ème anniversaire)
Hard to believe Histoire de Melody Nelson is 40 years old. But given it is also 20 years since Serge Gainbourg's death it puts it into perspective. Widely regarded by critics and fans alike as Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished album. It certainly stands the test of time, a classic not just for Gainsbourg but as a piece of music made in the early seventies.
Thanks to a big budget following international success with 1969's Je t'aime... moi non plus Gainsbourg's 1971 collaboration with Jean-Claude Vannier proved to be the ultimate magnum opus in a prolific career that covers over 3 decades. It's the young Vannier's lush, deep orchestrated string and choral arrangements composed with Serge that make this album truly unique. Never before had pop-rock songs, slow funk and soul been produced with such extravagant orchestration. Add to this Gainbourg's brooding narration and Jane Birkin's (Melody) sweet and innocent voice and you get an incredibly grandeur sound. But that's what Monsieur Gainsbourg was all about, constantly pushing boundaries and making new music and sounds that had never been done before.
Many musicians have marked the LP as a major influence, David Holmes based the majority of his second album Let's Get Killed on remakes of Melody Nelson compositions. Beck, whose 2002 track Paper Tiger from Sea Change is extremely close to the distinctive Histoire de Melody Nelson sound. Air, Jarvis Cocker, Portishead and Daft Punk have all been inchanted by it's magic.
I first discovered the album during the mid-nineties and it's remained a constant favourite ever since. Histoire de Melody Nelson is essentially a concept album based on the Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical plot involving the middle-aged Gainsbourg unintentionally colliding his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage nymphet Melody Nelson's bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues.
The original album is under 30 minutes long and starts and ends the epic tracks Melody and Cargo Culte clocking in over seven and a half minutes each. Now available in a new 40th Anniversary edition with outtakes and alternative versions. Also there is an interesting documentary by Sebastien Merlet about the making of the album with interviews from Jane Birkin, Jean-Claude Vannier, Jean-Claude Charvier, Tony Frank and Andrew Birkin.
Occasionally imitated but never matched, truly exceptional and highly recommended.
Another French pop tune from Pascal Parisot, I'm listening to a lot of French radio of late. Pascal (born 1963) has a definite Serge Gainsbourg sound to his voice and here it's ever apparent as he duets with his partner Fredda. Taken from the 2000 album Rumba. Love the bossa nova beats and sunshine melody.
Just heard this great pop tune on French radio, not one that I've heard before but at first I thought it was Neoloop favourite Bertrand Burgalat as Chanson singer-songwriter Albin De La Simone has a very similar voice and sound. Recorded and released back in 2003 from his self-titled LP, which also turns old to be very good and has matured very well. Albin, born 1970 in Picardie, France has also worked with Vanessa Paradis, Arthur H, Pascal Parisot and Alain Souchon to name a few.
I've been listening to a lot of old french pop lately, this little ditti is the title track from Pascal Parisot's 2003 album Wonderful. Reminds me of early Manu Chao tunes. Pascal sings like a young Serge Gainsbourg with the accompaniment of a light reggae beat and a catchy chorus sung in English. The perfect complement to a sunny afternoon.
Perfect French Pop!
Following a bit travelling around Europe, I heard this track in a shop in Switzerland and discovered it was none other than Charlotte Gainsbourg dueting on a Étienne Daho track from his eighth studio album Growth resumed from 2003. It's a great song and reminds me of the tunes Charlotte done with her father the great Serge Gainsbourg.
Just discovered La Femme and their excellent EP Le Podium #1
The Paris-based lo-fi surf rockers realised their debut EP at the end of last year, La Femme Ressort (The She Spring) is an eerie tune, reminds me of the Twin Peaks soundtrack. French new wave pop with a sassy edge, the lo-fi production adds to the dark and mysterious sound.
While driving through the French countryside of the Dordogne region at night with just the light of the sat-nav glowing on the dashboard, you need a suitably dark and mellow soundtrack for such a drive and Arthur H's Pour Madame LP from 2000 fits perfectly. Arthur's husky croon creeps in and out of the subtle beats, sometimes singing or whispering or just the spoken word of a man possessed. Haka Dada has the hypnotic groove of a snake charmer. Great album and a French classic.
Arthur Higelin (born Paris 1966), better known under his stage name Arthur H, a pianist, songwriter and singer. He is the son of the French singer Jacques Higelin. Drawing on such influences as Thelonious Monk and Serge Gainsbourg he's a bit of legend in France.
Following my recent visit to France I came back with some cool new tunes. Village-Joie by Thomas Dutronic comes from Dr. Tom Ou La Liberté En Cavale, an album of various artists tribute to French composer Franck Langolff. Langolf wrote most of Vannessa Paradis early albums including breakthrough debut Joe Le Taxi. The LP gathers renound artists such as Vanessa Paradis, Alain Souchon, Natalie Dessay, Ours, Arthur H, Thomas Dutronc, Claire Denamur, Liza Manili, Renaud, Yannick Noah, Cécile Cassel and Raphaël. There is also an animated film of the music too!
Any excuse to put up some Sebastian Tellier, listening to Darkstar track Dear Heartbeat below reminded me of this tune from Sebastian's Sexuality LP - His third studio album which was produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk, a classic album that I never get bored of.
Sebastians's done a few classics in his time including the seminal orchestrated hit La Ritournelle and his Eurovision entry Divine. Born in 1975 in Paris the songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is currently signed to Record Makers, a French independent record label. He sings in English, French and Italian.
Check out all his albums, cool stuff!
Like This? Try: Bertrand Bergalat, Yuksek, Etienne de Crécy
Some mixed up styles from the excellent Ana Tijoux, hip-hop with latin and french flavours. Ana raps in both French and Spanish, this tune 1977 (the year of her birth) is a stunning piece of raw unconventional music. A superb example of how hip-hip reaches all corners of the globe.
Anamaría Tijoux was born in Lille, France in 1977, daughter to Chilean parents living in political exile during Pinochet's dictatorship. She became famous in Latin America as the female MC of hip-hop group Makiza during the late nineties. Her latest LP 1977 was recorded between May and September 2009, the new album was produced by Hordatoj, Foex y Tee, of the label Potoco Discos, together with Habitación Del Pánico.
More chilled out vibes today, this is an absolute classic for me, Dimitri from Paris (born Dimitris Yerasimos 1963) is a French music producer and DJ, best know for his disco compilations. He's produced many runway soundtracks for fashion houses such as Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Hermès and Yves Saint-Laurent. I think his music suits the fashion scene perfectly, this tune appeared on his excellent debut solo album Sacrebleu released in 1996. Very cool.
Some late night chilled out reggae for you now, I've been listening to some out mixes and this tune come on, I'd forgotten how good it was. The original White Stripes version is a killer tune to begin with of course, The Dynamics slow the whole thing down and change the arrangement to give it a nice easy reggae drum and bass with melodica that Augustus Pablo would be proud of. Seven Nation Army is from The Dynamics 2008 covers album Version Excursions. The band are from Lyon in France.
Like This? Try: Easy Star All-Stars, Ticklah Vs Axelrod, DubXanne
Clanging drums and wonky tonk piano... A grand masterpiece of crazy pop... Heaven Can Wait.
Following on from her excellent album 5:55 from 2006, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's daughter has collaborated with Beck to make IRM, her best album to date. Full of Beck's distinctive style and lyrical nonchalance, who himself is massively influenced by Serge Gainsbourg. And it's all in there, it's an eclectic mix of tunes that hang together well, Charlotte is sounding more and more like her mother, although Charlotte does has a better voice, not to say I don't enjoy Jane Birkin's songs as she has made some quality pop with Monsieur Serge.
It's sounds practically like a new Beck album but with Charlotte doing all the singing, Beck does chip in with background vocals here and there, apart from this track which is a full on duet. So Beck plays Serge to Charlotte's Jane, and in true style of the legend they have also managed to maintain Serge's forward thinking pop while plundering from his past. It's very early indeed to think about albums of the year, I just hope come the end of the year it won't be forgotten about as it really is a magnificent album. With such talented parents the expectation bench mark is set very high, Charlotte has a lot to live up to, with IRM I think she has achieved it… The old man would have been proud. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Like This Try: Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Beck, Jean-Claude Vannier, Bertrand Burgalat
listening to some old old tunes tonight, this just sounds so good, a classic bit of cheesy french sixties pop.
iTunes have got two of her old albums up there, worth investigating! She also does this in English 7AM.
Spooky being lost in space all on your own! Sounding like an early AIR tune, but it was recorded in the early Seventies. In 1975 before the release of the first Black Devil Disco Club album, Bernard Fevre released an album called ‘The Strange World Of Bernard Fevre’ and like the first Black Devil album it was so far ahead of it’s time that even now people struggle to believe it was really recorded over 30 years ago. Love to new cover by Non-Format too!
A real feel good vibe, just add blue sky, a Mojito and a spanish dancer!
This Album is just amazing, to many good tunes on to pick just one. Many worldly influences and styles chop about with a colourful array of happiness. Gotan Project’s Christoph H. Müller and Peruvian percussionist Rodolfo Muñoz (Chinchivi, Sandunga) have teamed up to create RADIOKIJADA, a unique musical adventure based upon Afro Peruvian rhythms and culture, a crossover of powerful percussion, strong melodies, deep basslines and contemporary production methods.
Following on from the last post about AIR sounding like Bertrand Burgalat, what better time than to share a bit more bert. You'll find other tunes by bert in previous months. This is his superb collaboration with Robert Wyatt, a little late for summer but a classic bert tune, taken from the album Cheri B.B. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Amour, Imagination, Rêve - Absolutely love this track from Air's new album Love 2. Sounding more and more like Bertrand Burgalat these days the duo from Versailles always have to live up to that outstanding debut, I think this new album comes close without a doubt.
Havana to France via Chinese Man!
Chinese Man Records - The Groove Sessions Vol.2 is another album I picked up from my trip to France this week. It's a very eclectic affair to say the least, mixing up an array of styles from Hip Hop, break beat and Jazz to Bollywood chants, Cuban rhythms, weird electronica and mad film samples. This track is quality! Album RECOMMENDED
La Musique Magnifique!
Just got back from France, got loads of new tunes for you. Quite a few to get through, but this little pop ditty brings a smile to your face. It's got that kitsch french pop vibe going on even though they sing in English. The Sophia Lorenians are from Paris/NewYork, so far they have only released this on 7" Single.
Hang on to the summer, i've got some sunshine tunes left!
Have a listen to this version of Claudine Longet's Ain't no mountain high enough, it's a typical kitch arrangement made in 1971 of the Motown standard. An uplifting summer sizzler with added Français beat.
MMmmm... Please me, I don't want to do it with.
What can I say about Bertrand Burgalat other than he is a genius! He's made 6 albums, all brilliant. Impossible to pick one track from Bertrand as there are so many great tunes. This is from the Portrait-Robot album (2005). I'll post some more in time.
Burgalat is well-known for his cool, breezy 1960s-style pop sound, something he has lent to his production work with Air. His musical influences include the "ye-ye" sound of French pop made famous by France Gall, Françoise Hardy and Brigitte Fontaine, as well as the singers Jacques Dutronc and Serge Gainsbourg.
She's My Lover, it's all about the percussion on this one, tambourines and maracas sprinkle all over a baggy beat, It's a great tune the Stone Roses never made.
The original version of this tune is on the amazing debut album A Grand Love Story - released in 1997. A classic. This is a later version that came with a CD repackage Special Edition. Jean-Yves Prieur, aka Kid Loco is a French electronic musician, DJ, remixer and producer. He was born on June 16, 1964 in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France.
A new Kid Loco remix album is due this year.
Channson simple et magnifique!
Great voice for such a young woman, the arrangements remind me of Yann Tierson's work for Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain Soundtrack.
Béatrice Martin (19) is a Canadian pop singer-songwriter from Quebec, who performs under the stage name Cœur de pirate.
Lose yourself in the beauty of it all, another little tune I picked up a while ago that I added to a compilation for traveling to/and around France this week. listen to the way it builds up in the first 30 seconds to a cacophony of beauty, a gentle guitar, Françoiz vocals, a shaker and a full blown string quartet. If only it was longer.
Si Tu Disais (if you said) is taken from Vingt à Trente Mille Jours (French for "Twenty to Thirty Thousand Days") the second album by singer Françoiz Breut, released in 2000 (in France).
Just got back from France and discovered this band called Java, this is from the album Safari Croisière released in 2003. It's got accordéon's, what more do you want! It's all going on.
I'm off to France this week so I'l compiling a few playlists to accompany my road trip, hence the last few blog entries have a very French influence. If you like Serge Gainsbourg and want hear more, try this excessively kitsch concept album about, well, sex! Orchestral funk, moody whispering over breezy bossa, smokey organ porn. Furiously pop and totally cult for perverse record collectors everywhere. This is a cracking track from a classic album.
The incredible Philippe Nicaud. A rising young talent of 50s French cinema, filming with Jeanne Moreau (Dos au mur), Dalida (L’Inconnue de Hong Kong) and Brigitte Bardot (Voulez-vous danser avec moi). With Erotico… Nicaud he plunges hungrily into the era’s melting pot of pop with the help of Gérard Gustin and his pulsingly crafted orchestrations. Great album cover too!
Philippe Nicaud left us April 18th of this year in the age of 82 years... R.I.P
Psychedelic French Pop from the Master
Serge Gainsbourg's varied musical style and individuality made him difficult to categorize. His legacy has been firmly established, and he is often regarded as one of the world's most influential musicians. I've admired much of his music over the years, just when you think you've heard it all I can't help re-discovering another track everytime I trawl through his extensive back catalogue. Pure class!
Histoire de Melody Nelson (from which this track was taken from) is a 1971 concept album. The Lolita-esque pseudo-autobiographical plot involves the middle-aged Gainsbourg unintentionally colliding his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage nymphet Melody Nelson's bicycle (Jane Birkin), and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. Histoire de Melody Nelson is considered by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's most influential and accomplished album.
At just under twenty-eight minutes, the short running time and the stylistic consistency and similarity throughout the album gives it qualities more in line with an EP or an extended musical piece with a number of movements. Histoire de Melody Nelsons is a mix of freewheeling guitar, funk style bass guitar, near spoken word vocal delivery, and lush, deep orchestrated string and choral arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier who composed almost the entire music for the album.
Sunshine and Psychedelic pop
Every summer I always dig out some old Serge Gainsbourg to drop in to mix compilations. This is from a soundtrack to a movie called La Horse.
Composed by Gainsbourg and Vannier in 1970, a true pearl of Psychedelic pop stunningly modern and powerful.