Fontaine, Brigitte - Kekeland

SKU 02-VIRGIN3810661
"French singer Brigitte Fontaine made a series of increasingly strange and eclectic art-pop in the 1970s that gathered a lot of acclaim in France, although she remains obscure to an international audience. Initially she was an eccentric but accessible pop singer, presenting melodic and orchestrated material a la a more daring version of late-'60s/early-'70s Francoise Hardy. On her first album, she worked with arranger Jean Claude Vannier, who had also done arrangements for Serge Gainsbourg. On subsequent records she got jazzier, and then into more difficult directions of avant-gardism and art song. Her albums were commendably wide-ranging, and undeniably erratic. She could employ African tribal rhythms, discordant progressive jazz, pretty folky melodies, throat-stretching a cappella vocals, spoken poetry, and pious classical arrangements, sometimes with a stoned recklessness. On some albums she collaborated with the less impressive male writer and singer Areski, whose rough vocals contrasted incongruously with Fontaine's sweet and mature tone. Fontaine returned to recording in the 1990s, around the time her vintage work slowly began to accumulate a cult following among English-speaking listeners."-Richie Unterberger/All Music Guide

For this 1998 release, Brigitte Fontaine teams up with an unlikely cast of collaborators from across the '90s' avant-pop spectrum, enlisting Sonic Youth, jazz legend Archie Shepp, the singer simply known as M, French rock groups Noir D├ęsir and les Valentins, as well as the production team Sound Orama. The pick of the tracks here is her work with Sonic Youth, who were clearly great admirers of her '70s albums. The New York avant-garde rockers play an empathetic collection of pieces mixed by Jim O'Rourke, whose expertise intuitively fuses the disparate avant-pop sensibilities into a cohesive and dynamic collaboration. Elsewhere things wander off into a casually eclectic mix of styles that fails to congeal with any one particular design. This melting pot of ideas does, however, have its share of brilliant moments that are well worth checking out. Newcomers to Brigitte Fontaine should look to her '70s work for an introduction -- it is recommended to have a contextual understanding of her wayward pop before exploring the more idiosyncratic works she produced in the '90s"-Skip Jansen/All Music Guide
  • LabelVirgin
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