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


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".


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]