samedi, septembre 24, 2011

The Phono festival where I played the last week is in Odense, a city on the Fyn island, which is no longer an island: an amazing bridge links up Fyn and the Zealand island, where Copenhagen stands. Odensee is not a small city, but it is the typical town from which young people need to escape when they approach 20. The nice story about Phono is that it is mostly run by people who moved to Copenhagen, but who want to breathe the capital life into their hometown.

Having one day off before coming back to France, I spent it visiting Odense, where I really enjoyed an exhibition of old Danish landscape paintings at the Fyn Kunstmuseum. Then, approaching the house of H.C. Andersen, the prolific fairy tale writer who stayed a bachelor all his life, I had a first movement of rejection, since the museum must be like an Eiffel tower, the name of Andersen itself being almost a curse in Denmark, like Lars Von Trier. Eventually I came in and didn't regret it. The display is great; I visited one huge room with all Andersen's traductions, and that makes an incredible Babel tower room from many periods & diverse cultures.

Andersen was also an artist, making notebooks for children, filled with collages, drawings, papercuts. He was a master at it. Andy Warhol was fascinated by the figure of Andersen, but also by his papercuts. That fascination is a cue to understand the psyché of the American genius: something related to childhood, innocence & amorality (most of the fairy tales have no moral).

It's time to read Andersen, now.

jeudi, septembre 22, 2011

« Step across the border », yesterday; my first visit to the recently reopened La Gaîté lyrique, which used to be... a science fiction museum in central Paris! I remember having visited the site when it was still in its 80's colours and design. The movie follows the musician Fred Frith around the world, 20 years ago. A filmed portrait which is also an extraordinary piece of art.

dimanche, septembre 18, 2011

Doing a set at the Phono Festival in Odensee, Denmark, was really enjoyable. First of all, because I met a lot of people, stumbling across Joe Howe (Ben Butler & Mousepad), who I briefly met the last year in Berlin. Joe and his living drum machine Bastian Hagedorn gave such a great, inventive and powerful concert. The other surprise of the day was Debmaster, the French super genius moustachu who's living in Berlin and sometimes crosses countries by bike with his girlfriend. I was the man who had to « essuyer les plâtres » (start) at 7:30 pm. My new setlist did work well, mostly. Maybe I was a bit too long with slow piano tracks, I don't know, but people seemed to like the strange mixture I prepared: French poetry from my book on sounds, naked piano played with clothes, old tunes revitalized, 60 BPM heavy dark songs, comptines electro from the mid-nineties. That was an experimental set for me and I had a lot of fun doing it. I also had a choir of dancing mosquitoes on stage. The venue, an old abandonned and beautiful red bricks slaughter house, has become the home of these numerous nano-butchers, and we are the meat. Great time, great atmosphere, thanks to the volunteers, the promoters, the public.

lundi, septembre 12, 2011

Today I was thinking about la majorité silencieuse, silent majority. Suddenly I realized that someone, some day, in some article or speech, in some conversation somewhere in the world, in some language, said la majorité silencieuse for the first time. This person is the Adam of silent majority, the genuine possessor of the expression. We don't know who he is and when it was… What if an advanced system would protect and secure our language inventions as soon as we do create them, so that every future user would have to pay us something for using it? Every human being would carry a chip in the palate that would list, minute after minute, the protected expressions we use while referencing and protecting the expressions we create in the process of speaking. An author society would collect, protect in real time the expressions, and edit the bills. Someone in China would pay a fee for using something I said to my boulanger. I would pay someone in Siberia for having said something about the wind that is familiar in the Taïga. What the talkers would shortly realize is that the poors get the huge bills, as usual. Having no job, they have more time for inventing language, whereas jobbers invention of language is worthless in a standardized world. So little by little, the poor would stop talking, being unable to pay their borrowings. Only the rich would talk without counting, with their impoverished lexicon.

dimanche, septembre 11, 2011

On 11th september 2001, I was rehearsing my songs rue des martyrs in Paris for the CMJ Music Marathon in New York (09/13), a great event scattered in many clubs. Ours was Fez, where our label manager, Matthew Jacobson, always organized a wonderful evening, full of concerts, friends and happiness. 2001 was my third participation. At the same time in Paris, I met Asia Argento, who told me about Apollinaire's poems to Lou, written during WWI. This is how I proposed her to make a record with me, in which terrorism, love and modern life would be associated. « Lou Etendue » (Karaoke Kalk, 2004) was mainly produced by Antonin Gaultier (Digiki). It is very dramatic, almost frightening, a strange and dark beauty emerges from the waves of temporary sound and voices. It is a strange coincidence that the 10th anniversary coincides for me with the publication of « Noël Jivaro » (cover to the right): a serie of 24 poems called « Low Frequency Oscillator », written in Paris and New York right after the attack, closes the book.

jeudi, septembre 08, 2011

Toog @ Phono Festival (Odense, Denmark)
16th september, 19H30

It's been years that I try to create a live setlist that would work as good as the ones I used when we travelled the world with my famous friend Momus. It is hard to propose something slow and calm; most of the people want to be entertained by beats. I guess that choosing slowness and silence is more risky than performing with an overwhelming amount of sounds and beats. Silence is the new punk.


Les 9 portes (« Lou étendue », 2004)
Are Visages Electric (« Goto », 2004)
Cyclopé- haine (« 6633 », 2004)
Mon idéal (« 6633 », 1999)
La Chambre noire (« Goto », 2010)
Linge (unreleased track)
Le Genou des choses (« Ergroun », 1996)
Traffic jam (« Goto », 2010)
Le Petit jardin bio (unreleased track)
Le Jugement (« 6633 », 199)
The Dark side of le rire (unreleased track)

dimanche, septembre 04, 2011

The poet Max Jacob died from curiosity. This is what his lodger in Saint Benoît sur Loire, the doctor Persillard, said. Born Jew, Max worked hard on becoming a catholic saint after having met Christ. At the age of 45, he left his parisian famous friends and moved to Saint Benoît near the abbaye de Fleury, where he lived from 1921 to his death in 1944, in the Drancy camp. Max had visitors in his retreat. Everytime the bell rang, he took a look in the street. This was not the best thing to do in 1944, being Jew: his last visitor was the Gestapo, searching for human fuel.

The abbaye de Fleury in Saint Benoît, from which the monks had been expelled after 1789, became a monastery again in october 1944, six months after Max's death. Its story goes back 1500 years, when the relics of Saint Benoît (480-547) and his sister Sainte Scholastique were brought back from the Mont Cassin in Italy. Mommole, priest of Fleury, red the saint's portrait and miracles in a « book » written by the future pope Grégoire Le Grand (540-604). It's interesting to see that « books » could become best sellers and travel all around Europe in the year 500, in a time of invasions, at the end of the Roman empire.

One Grégoire's chapter reminds me of The Wicker Man movie: a jealous priest organizes a celtic round dance of naked virgins near Benoît's first monastery in Subiaco, for tempting the young monks who gathered around him. This is why the saint moved to the Mont Cassin. At the end of his life, Saint Benoît had a vision in which he saw the destruction of his second monastery, which happened shortly after his death. After closing this admirable book, Mommole decided to send two guys to bring back the saint and his sister bones. 1500 years later, the relics still are in the abbaye de Fleury's crypt.

This is what Max Jacob said about Saint Benoît sur Loire: « Saint-Benoît is one of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the most beautiful balance between the masses of stone, the masses of greenery and the water mass. And do not forget that there is another mass: the silence. You see, there is the Trinity: stone, greenery and water. But the Trinity, we'll put it on four wheels by adding the silence. »