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(74:32, Musea Records)
PERFORMERS / TRACK LISTING: 1. Albert Marcour: Tele Bonus 4:56 2. Joseph Racaille: Inceste 0:45 3. Etron Fou Leloublan: Emoi 3:55 4. Etron Fou Leloublan: Le Lavabo 5:00 5. Ferdinand: Madame Colette 4:25 6. Ferdinand: A la Caisse 3:00 7. Joseph Racaille: Insecticide 0:41 8. Toupidek Limonade: Depuis Que 2:00 9. Toupidek Limonade: Le Tlou du Cul 0:39 10. Joseph Racaille: Le Systeme Metrite 0:26 11. Klimperei: Enerve 0:45 12. Klimperei: Elisabeth 1:36 13. Joseph Racaille: Opalin 0:26 14. David Fenech: Caroline 3:06 15. David Fenech: Les g?raniums 2:18 16. Joseph Racaille: Ovaire 0:26 17. Frederic Le Junter: C'est une Chanson de pas D'amour 2:45 18. Frederic Le Junter: Quitter 1:48 19. Joseph Racaille: Un Corps Etranger 0:30 20. Billard & Dj pP: L'Hotesse de L'air 2:11 21. Billard & Dj pP: Viens a la Campagne 0:55
Prolusion. Compilation albums have always been something of an odd item, ranging from cheap productions in all manners and dimensions of that description to straightforward commercial entities that fall out of fashion ten minutes after they're purchased. The thematic productions have often been items providing more value for money than most such efforts, and Musea Records have assembled quite a few noteworthy CDs of that variety over the years. "Chansons Jamais Entendues a la Radio" is the latest addition to that part of the label’s history.
Analysis. The Chanson is a type of composition with a long tradition in French music, dating back to the Middle Ages, at least according to the sources I looked up on this particular subject. And in the world of contemporary music it is defined as "the work of more popular singers ...and is distinguished from the rest of French ‘pop’ music by following the rhythm of the French language, rather than that of English, and thus is identifiable as specifically French". Such a definition explains the great stylistic variety at hand on this compilation which, translated to English, is named “Songs Never Heard on the Radio”. And while half of the songs on this disc are previously unreleased and thus never have had the chance to hit the airwaves, others may have been held off for lyrical reasons, Joseph Racaille's Inceste a main suspect in that particular department, mostly due to the subject matter itself. Those fluent in French will most likely find quite a lot of additional material logically deemed unsuitable for FM radio due to this aspect, as I have a hard time finding logical musical reasons as to why these songs and artists haven't found their way to any of the major radio stations in France. Apart from the experimental scope at hand in many of these efforts, that is. While the musical traditions of the chanson are old, and some of the more well-known providers of the genre most likely are familiar names for the grandparent and great grandparent generation, the tracks at hand on this CD aren't exactly made with a commercial point of view in mind, the utilization of breaking glass as a rhythm instrument in Albert Marcour's Tele Bonus for instance. The beautiful but oh-so-brief classical chamber music escapades of the aforementioned Joseph Racaille averaging in length just over 30 seconds. Or the naivistic childlike efforts of Toupidek Limonade and Klimperei, seemingly an escapee from a children's TV show in terms of themes explored and instruments utilized. Or David Fenech's rather minimalistic approach on Caroline, where that name enters the lyrics of the song, repeated over and over in the three or so minutes that particular piece lasts, backed by a wandering acoustic guitar theme and a dampened, ominous sounding machine-like noise texture. And as far as stylistic variety goes, Ferdinand brings in jazz with Madam Colette and punk with A la Caisse, but not in traditional manners.
Conclusion. Minimalism and repetition stand out as keywords in describing the compositions chosen for this compilation. Adventurous and challenging music for sure, but probably not in a manner that can be described as complex. Lyrically and musically a journey into unknown territories for those who associate the term chanson with artists like Edith Piaf, to name one very well-known example, and a recommended addition to the album collections of those who like seeking out alternate and experimental material that most likely will challenge their perceptions of the French chanson. As lyrics are a very important aspect of most if not all songs, mastering the French language will probably be an advantage if you decide to seek this one out.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: December 2, 2010
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