Thursday, 31 May 2012

We all scream for Ice Cream

Apparently it is National Ice Cream Week (28th May-3rd June 2012*).  I wonder if they asked Polnareff to take part, he did once claim to have been born in an ice cream - here he is, in his trademark sunglasses and naked as the day he was born (except for his grandma's hat)...

Watch out for the bizarre pillaging of The Intro & The Outro by The Bonzo's in this epic from his everythingANDthekitchensink masterpiece Polnareff's.

Michel Polnareff - Né Dans Un Ice-Cream

I imagine, meanwhile, that on hearing of N.I.C.W., Ariane would have gotten herself all excited and danced around in a circle chanting "Ice Cream, Ice Cream, Moi je n'aime que l'ice cream" until she felt so queasy she couldn't stomach even the tiniest scoop of cold, creamy goodness**.

[image source: Bide & Musique]

Ariane - Ice Cream
[this was re-issued on Ultra Chicks vol. 1, if you can find a copy]

But isn't it strange how they both opted for the anglophone and not the francophone?

Here are a few of my favourite places to buy ice cream (in no particular order)
  1. Fusciardi's, Eastbourne - try the 'Moonraker' sundae.
  2. Marocco's, Hove - a multitude of homemade flavours, try the chilli chocolate or the boozy tiramisu.
  3. Di Pola's, Hastings - possibly the softest gelato I've ever had the pleasure of eating.
  4. Amorino, Paris - try as many flavours as you can fit in a cone and they will arrange them like the petals of a flower.
  5. Berthillon, Paris - everything from Irish Coffee to Earl Grey Tea. A scoop of pear and a scoop of their ultra-rich chocolate works well.
  6. Fennochio Glacier, Nice - over 50 flavours including some odd ones like Cactus, Black Olive, Tomato & Basil, Thyme.

*on closer inspection it seems to be very much a sponsored event, and not very 'National' at all
**does that sound dirty and wrong?

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Moogie Wonderland

Last Sunday, the Now Playing @6Music show was dedicated Bob Moog in salute to what would have been his 78th birthday earlier in the week.  The show puts the power of selection in the hands of the listeners, who can make suggestions through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (see #Moog6Music), and dedicated Spotify playlists, which are then curated by the production team and host Tom Robinson.

The Moog special threw up some analogue treats including an ace version of Let The Sunshine In (from the musical Hair) by Mort Garson suggested by The Horrors, an early use of Moog by The Monkees (Mickey Dolenz bought the 3rd commercially available Moog Modular off the production line), Moogie Wonderland by Stereolab, some Wendy Carlos, various 80s synth-pop classics, and even an epic Simon & Garfunkel track (on which Bob Moog apparently came to the studio to set up the Moog himself!). The one thing missing for me was something by avant-hard synth-abusers Add N To (X), or maybe some Claude Denjean Moog-madness, but I shouldn't complain when I didn't bother sending in my own suggestion, should I?

Whether every track played featured an actual Moog is up for debate, but if you enjoy the warm sound of vintage synths you should give it a listen before Sunday 3rd June.

Listen again via the BBC iPlayer >>

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Guardian: Sounds of France

Today the Guardian began their series 'Sounds Of Europe' with a feature on the 'Sounds of France: a history of French pop in 10 songs'.

As always with such lists, there are some interesting choices, some glaring omissions, and clearly a specific agenda (which topically caters to a Eurovision hungry disco/dance/pop mentality).

I've not had a chance to watch all the videos but was pleased to see Cerrone make an appearance.  I also enjoyed the heartwrenching Sylvie Vartan torchsong, but am confused by the inclusion of a Nicoletta disco number, and by the lack of Jean-Michel Jarre, without whom Air and Sebastien Tellier would have sounded rather different, I reckon.

But have a look for yourself...

Je Ne Vois Que Vous

The first time I heard this song, I thought: hmmm, that sounds just like Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab.

The second time I heard it, I thought: what a lovely piece of jangly, summery indie-pop

The third time, I thought: wow, that kind of high-fidelity production could be the stamp of Bertrand Burgalat.

So here is Benjamin Schoos, featuring Laetitita Sadier, with a glorious hi-fi, jangly indie-pop song that, for me, marks the start of the summer (though produced by Schoos himself, not Monsieur Burgalat)

I've been digging deeper, and it seems Benjamin Schoos, aka Miam Monster Miam, is Belgian, and runs his own record label, Freaksville Record, out of Brussels. But more of interest is that his current album China Man Vs China Girl (Devo/Bowie references?) not only features Laetitia from Stereolab, but a pantheon of other French artistes including, Lio, Marie France, Alain Chamfort, and members of Telex

The label has some other tasty looking records out including an album by Jacques Duvall and Elisa Point, a couple of Marie France collaborations, and the intriguing looking Mademoiselle Nineteen (MAT/Godard ref. CHECK).

You can buy Benjamin Schoos and most of these other artistes via the Freaksville Record site.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Le Coeur Fou

This was a new discovery, and something of an uncharted gem, if you ask me.  Italian-born softcore actress Ewa Swann gives an achingly breathy vocal performance on this, her only record,  released in 1970: from the soundtrack to the Jean-Gabriel Albicocco film in which she stars as Clo the "psychotic pyromaniac".

Judging from this synopsis, the film is a typically French affair, dealing with adultery, madness and doomed love...
"A struggling, middle aged entertainment journalist falls for a 20 year old psychotic pyromaniac. He meets the young woman when he goes to interview his ex-wife, a prominent actress in a mental institution. After the interview, the young woman sets fire to the institution after she overhears the conversation. Escaping to the woods, the reporter finds her and falls in love. The two decide to live in the forest in a lean-to, and they start their affair of burning passion while she continues her passionate burning. Soon the police arrive to take the disturbed woman away. The incident leaves the man on the verge of suicide out of loss and longing for his new love."

Now take a look at the back cover, and you see the immortal tag line "direction musical et arrangements: Jean-Claude Vannier" an almost certain stamp of quality.  And in this instance, I'm pleased to say that J-C does not disappoint.

Don't know about you, but, for me, it brings to mind a more twisted version of the Lullaby from Rosemary's Baby sung breathlessly by a Lolita-esque Jane Birkin/Léonie impersonator.

Ewa Swann - Le Coeur Fou
[if you would like to buy the vinyl 45 be prepared to pay a handsome sum via or groovecollector]

Thursday, 24 May 2012


Crazy new Stereo Total single with tinny arpeggiators and reverb-ed up surf-guitar twang, und here is a cool lo-fi video filmed chez Cactus und Göring >>

Pssst! If you're quick you can get a free mp3 download from the Stereo Total soundcloud page.

Marc Almond goes Behind the Brel

Image du Blog

I'm kicking myself for missing part 1 of this repeated Radio 2 documentary Behind the Brel: The Story of a Musical Genius, but part 2 (examining the darker side of Brel and his interest in songs about death and war) is on the iPlayer and part 3 airs this Sunday at 8pm.
Marc Almond invites you to explore the music and unconventional life of one of France's most revered singer-songwriters - Jacques Brel.
Largely unknown in the English speaking world (mainly due to him singing in French), Jacques Brel is considered one of the great songwriters of the 20th Century, whose lyrical content is poetically introspective and delivered with an honesty few could deny.
Tacking subjects such as love, death and social issues, Brel's music has been translated by artists such as David Bowie, Scott Walker, Shirley Bassey, Joan Baez, Barbra Streisand, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Rod McKuen, Terry Jacks, Nirvana and Vera Lynn.
Brel songs, which became major hits in the English-speaking world, include Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away), Seasons in the Sun, Jacky and Amsterdam. And in this three part series, Marc Almond will investigate why some Brel songs translated well and others didn't.
Throughout the series, Marc Almond gives his own thoughts on Brel's songs including Jacky and Amsterdam.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


If you've used Google at all today, chances are you would have seen the interactive Moog doodle, in celebration of what would have been Robert Moog's 78th birthday.

It doesn't seem entirely realistic or intuitive, but it's still good clean fun - Go and have a go yourself before it disappears!

Here's a video of Bob demonstrating his Mini Moog

Monday, 21 May 2012

la fin de la soirée

After nearly 10 YEARS of giving Brighton the finest in Synthesized Sounds, vintage French Pop and Electronic Delights we have decided that it’s time to go out with a great big SHEBAM! POW! BLOP! WIZZZZZ!
la dernière L’Amour Electronique
9pm – 3am
The Westhill, 67 Buckingham Place, Brighton, BN1 3PQ
FREE ENTRY as it has always been

So please join us for one last late-night cocktail of 60s Yé-Yé, 80s Synthpop, Electronic Pioneers, 8-Bit, Qu
ébécois, Gallic Freakbeat, Chanson, Synthcore, Moog Pop, Swinging Mademoiselles, Casio Pop and Synth Disco.

But L’Amour Electronique n’est pas morte, the blog will live on, and on, and on.

love + electronics
Dom, Verity and Sarah

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Pop a Paris

Verity and I have just returned from a 2 day trip to Paris where I picked up a small handful of French pop vinyl 45s.

Yep, that's 2 dodgy looking late-period Christophe records - but trust me on those!

We also visited an amazing exhibition of neon artworks, which I've blogged about on my other site: