Tag: Cerrone

THE SHOCK OF THE FUTURE – LE CHOC DU FUTUR

1978: Un nouveau son arrive…

Dedicated to the female pioneers of electronic music Clara Rockmore, Wendy Carlos, Daphne Oram, Delia Derbyshire, Éliane Radigue, Laurie Spiegel, Suzanne Ciani, Johanna Beyer, Bebe Baron, Pauline Oliveros, Else Marie Pade and Beatriz Mercedes Ferreyra, ‘The Shock Of The Future’ or ‘Le Choc Du Futur’ is a wonderful independent French film celebrating the synthesizer.

Set in Paris 1978, ‘Le Choc Du Futur’ depicts a day in the life of a young fictional female synth musician Ana Klimova, following her fortunes as she struggles with creative blocks, networking, recognition and self-doubt, while also documenting the random happenings which spark her creativity.

A Bohemian elfin-like figure in the vein of Francoise Hardy or Jane Birkin, Ana Klimova is charmingly played by Alma Jodorowsky whose own family dynasty in cinema spans three generations. Her character uses electronics to make what she considers to be the music of the future, as she attempts to make herself heard in an ambivalent and lecherous male-dominated industry with its systemic patriarchy.

‘Le Choc Du Futur’ is the first film and screenplay by Marc Collin of NOUVELLE VAGUE, a musical project that has released five albums of new wave and synth covers rearranged in a continental longue bossa nova style; songs like ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’, ‘Don’t Go’, ‘Fade To Grey’, ‘A Forest’, ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’ and ‘Blue Monday’ have been amongst those getting the treatment. During that time, Collin has been notable for discovering female singing talent.

One of them has been Clara Luciani who sang on NOUVELLE VAGUE’s reinterpretation of ALTERED IMAGES’ ‘I Could Be Happy’ and she plays the role of the singer who is the voice of the film’s central tune ‘Future Shock’, composed by Collin himself.

In order to keep costs to a minimum, Collin directed ‘Le Choc Du Futur’ primarily as a chamber drama. Most of the scenes take place in a city apartment which is also the home studio of a famous musician Michel Manitovski who Ana appears to be housesitting for, with the benefit that she can use his collection of expensive synthesizers.

As two of France’s major electronic exponents of the period, the music of Jean-Michel Jarre and Cerrone feature prominently at the start of the film as historical context, with Ana innocently dancing along in just her T-shirt to ‘Supernature’ before chilling to ‘Oxygene 1’ as inspiration while getting down to work.

Working as a home masseuse to make ends meet, Ana however is focussed on making electronic music like a female Jean-Michel Jarre, much to the dismay of her manager Jean-Mi who has advanced her 1000 Francs to produce music for an advertising commission that he has got her.

As far as the acting is concerned in terms of playing synths and operating modulars or sequencers, Alma Jodorowsky is way more convincing than say Andy Fletcher of DEPECHE MODE. With her expressions and eye movements, she is compelling to watch as the viewer witnesses the start-stop-start nature of electronic composition. In these scenes, it is synth porn galore, with a Yamaha CS-80, ARP 2600, ARP 1601 sequencer and Moog modular units from the IIIP and Model 10 series figuring in the gear set-up.

But it’s when Ana finds one of the modules develops a glitch and calls an engineering boffin named Herve to help, that her Eureka moment happens. He has with him a Roland CR-78 Compurhythm and when it is demonstrated to her how it can sync with her ARP Sequencer, she can foresee her own future in electronic pop! Ana pleads with Herve to let her borrow the machine and he relents, despite his request for a kiss not being satisfied.

Jean-Mi is less convinced though and when Ana enthusiastically declares her vision of “dancing with atoms”, “moving with electronic circuits” and “a dance for oscillators”, her manager sceptically snorts “I know what a stupid beatbox is for. You think it’s going to replace a live drummer? The sound? The energy? You believe there won’t be studios anymore? Musicians? There’s just gonna be this poor guy alone doing music in his home?” – well, yes!

As Jean-Mi demands the return of his advance, Ana enters an existential crisis but her fortunes change with the arrival of a session singer played by Clara Luciani who turns up for the advertisement session that our heroine has forgotten about.

Together they collaborate on some chic disco synthpop that comes over rather like CHROMATICS meeting a deeper MARSHEAUX under the influence of Galouises smoke. While stoned, they talk about using the name CHAPI CHAPO, after a cartoon they are watching! The pair decide to premiere their track ‘Future Shock’ at a party that Ana is throwing, to which Dominic Giroux, a producer from the prestigious real-life label Barclay Records has been invited.

The party goes down a storm with its hip eclectic playlist, as does ‘Future Shock’ which has all of Ana’s friends and associates dancing and applauding. But as Giroux prepares to depart, Ana nervously asks the producer for feedback, although he seemingly becomes more interested in another lady present.

Despite being told “there’s something there”, Giroux shatters Ana by dismissing her potential, stating “I’m afraid there is no market for such music in France”. In despair, her friend Paul takes Ana for a walk to assure her that her work is valid and to maintain her artistic integrity while “what matters in life is not how many times you fall, it’s how many times you get back up”.

To this end, Paul uses his music industry contacts to arrange a visit to a recording session by Corine who complete with her trademark blonde curly mane, plays a character named and based on herself in a bit of timewarp dramatic licence. Here the real life pop starlet tells Ana that the producer from Barclay doesn’t know what he is talking about and gives her encouragement to persist. Loving Ana’s concept of electronic disco, the two swap contacts in anticipation that they might become future sisters in arms.

Nominated for ‘Best Feature Film’ at the Torino Film Festival 2019, ‘Le Choc Du Futur’ captures the beauty of the synthesizer, providing a seductive and uplifting 100 minutes that offers a snapshot of a developing popular culture, while also focussing on female empowerment and passion for music. Although the film’s storyline might be a bit too basic and niche for some, it is made with love and will be immensely appealing to synth enthusiasts for its observations on the creative process and the battles against the rockist real music fraternity.

Meanwhile the soundtrack presses all the right buttons. Most will be able relate to the scene when Ana’s seasoned New York mentor visits her for one of their regular new music listening sessions and plays THROBBING GRISTLE ‘United’, THE HUMAN LEAGUE ‘Dance Like A Star’ and the cosmic collage of AKSAK MABOUL ‘Saure Gurke’ to her for the first time. However, there will be amusement as Ana gives a muted response to ‘Frankie Teardrop’ by SUICIDE which she feels is “too rock”.

While ‘Le Choc Du Futur’ does not speculate as to how Ana Klimova’s musical career may have panned out, it her story is inspirational and although it is fictional, her electronic revolution inside her head did become real.


‘The Shock Of The Future (Le Choc Du Futur)’ is available in Europe via 606 Distribution as a PAL DVD in French Language with English Subtitles only from https://606distribution.co.uk/shock-of-the-future/

The North American NTSC DVD edition is released by Cleopatra Records, available via https://www.amazon.com/ or direct from https://cleorecs.com/store/shop/le-choc-du-futur-the-shock-of-the-future-dvd/

The soundtrack to ‘‘Le Choc Du Futur’ is released by Kwaidan Records via the usual digital platforms

https://www.facebook.com/TheShockOfTheFuture

https://open.spotify.com/album/5yavHHosSDSpKkqCe7SfMj


Text by Chi Ming Lai
21st November 2020

CERRONE DNA

Marc Cerrone is best known for ‘Supernature’, a Top10 UK hit in 1978 which subsequently gained longevity thanks to its use as incidental music during the first series of ‘The Kenny Everett Video Show’.

Featuring lyrics by an uncredited Lene Lovich containing a warning about environmental catastrophe, ‘Supernature’ with its transfixing hook put Cerrone up with Giorgio Moroder in the European electronic disco stakes.

The iconic tune was subsequently covered by ERASURE and inspired the title of the fourth GOLDFRAPP album.

Having influenced the likes of DAFT PUNK and remixed THE HUMAN LEAGUE, the diminutive French maestro returns with a new album ‘DNA’, his seventeenth. Made primarily using Arturia VSTs of the MiniMoog, ARP 2600, Prophet 5 and Solina, one hardware instrument that appears is a Behringer Odyssey copy, alongside a kit of Roland V-Drums.

Harking back to the theme of ‘Supernature’, the opening ‘DNA’ track ‘The Impact’ looks at the spectre of global warming 43 years on; it’s a epic start with sparkling arpeggios and deep synthbass before building to a thudding metronomic beat and a throbbing backbone equal of Moroder.

But before getting carried too away with the mood of the dance, an excerpt of a speech by the well-known primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall announces “Every single day we make some impact on the planet. We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents. We’ve borrowed it from our children. If we get together, then we can start to heal some of the scars that we’ve inflicted” to outline just how grave the earth’s situation is.

With the marvellously optimistic ‘Resolution’, Cerrone presents what that many have always wanted, a Jean-Michel Jarre disco track. With layers of string machine and pulsing electronics, the mechanical feel is offset by various live drum rolls, a trademark of Cerrone’s having begun his career as a sticksman.

‘Air Dreaming’ gives the disco a breather, being more in the vein of Vangelis at its start, but it picks up the rhythm with a great brassy spacey theme to offer as well. Meanwhile, the ‘DNA’ title track tips a hat to PINK FLOYD’s ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ and in particular, Richard Wright’s memorable keyboard passages.

With some great hooks, ‘I’ve Got A Rocket’ feels it is about to launch into ‘I Feel Love’ but is much less rigid and adds some complimentary vocoder, while ‘Let Me Feel’ actually could be mistaken for Moroder with its groovier stance recalling aspects of ‘E=MC2’.

But after a run of great retro-futuristic disco numbers, ‘DNA’ loses momentum; ‘Close To The Sky’ sounds like a theme to a cruise ship documentary but ‘Experience’ is slightly better, being more dramatic and Sci-Fi led. However, with the proggy overtones of the closer ‘Prediction’, the album sadly runs out of puff altogether.

For its first six tracks, ‘DNA’ is an enjoyable uptempo electronic instrumental record. So it’s perhaps no coincidence that back in the day, the classic Cerrone albums had even less on them than that.

While many of the approaches are familiar, at its highs, ‘DNA’ is much better than Giorgio Moroder’s ‘Deja-Vu’ or Jean-Michel-Jarre’s recent ‘Oxygène’ and Equinoxe’ reboots.


‘DNA’ is released in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats by Because Music

http://www.cerrone.net/

https://www.facebook.com/cerronemarc/

https://twitter.com/Cerrone

https://www.instagram.com/cerroneofficial/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th February 2020

THE HUMAN LEAGUE Night People

After Philip Oakey’s sojourns with LITTLE BOOTS and PET SHOP BOYS last year, THE HUMAN LEAGUE finally are back good and proper with ‘Night People’, the lead track from their new album Credo which will be released early 2011.

Premiered publicly by Wall Of Sound supremo Mark Jones during his brilliant DJ set at OMD’s ‘History Of Modern’ launch party, this danceable ditty is not only very electronic but also highly contemporary too.

And the lyrical couplet “leave your cornflakes in your freezers, leave your chocolates and your cheeses…” shows Mr Oakey hasn’t lost his touch for off-the-wall symbolism, “join us now my friends, we hail you!”

Punchy, tight and almost minimal, ‘Night People’ is a worthy comeback with its wonderfully elastic synthbass, trancey touches and enchanting deadpan vocals. Co-written by Philip Oakey and regular League sideman Rob Barton with Dean Honer and Jarrod Gosling aka I MONSTER who also produce, among those contributing remixes are French disco pioneer CERRONE, Rock ‘N’ Roll destroyer MYLO, funky electrotech merchant EMPEROR MACHINE and Belgian trio VILLA.

The new album ‘Credo’ is said to be “part of that particular pop lineage that goes from DAVID BOWIE, ROXY MUSIC and KRAFTWERK to DONNA SUMMER, CHIC and MICHAEL JACKSON to LADY GAGA, USHER and GIRLS ALOUD. Supremely infectious chart pop music with a twist of subversion”… so at least THE HUMAN LEAGUE haven’t gone rockabilly or anything!

As Philip Oakey once said himself: “This is a song for all you bigheads out there who think that disco music is lower than the irrelevant musical gibberish and tired platitudes that you try to impress your parents with. We’re THE HUMAN LEAGUE, we’re much cleverer than you”.


‘Night People’ is released by Wall Of Sound on 22nd November 2010

THE HUMAN LEAGUE 2010 tour with special guests (WE ARE) PERFORMANCE includes:

Norwich UEA (29th Nov), Halifax Victoria Theatre (30th Nov), Sheffield City Hall (1st Dec), Bristol Colston Hall (3rd Dec), Wolverhampton Civic Hall (4th Dec), St Albans Arena (5th Dec), Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall (6th Dec), Liverpool Philharmonic Hall (7th Dec), Stoke Victoria Hall (9th Dec), London Royal Festival Hall (10th Dec), Cambridge Corn Exchange (11th Dec), Gateshead Sage (13th Dec), Edinburgh Picture House (14th Dec), Manchester Academy (15th Dec), Lincoln Engine Shed (17th Dec), Leicester De Montfort Hall (18th Dec)

www.thehumanleague.co.uk


Text by Chi Ming Lai
19th November 2010