Christophe Menassier is a French-born and-based composer for TV, movies and online features — and since 2001, he has created scores for some of the world’s most prestigious and important brands, including Louis Vuitton, Jaeger-Lecoultre, Bulgari, Yves Saint Laurent and others. But interestingly enough, Menassier can trace his career back to the 1990s, when he started his career as a drummer and frontperson of French alt rock act STICKBUZZ, which played over 300 shows across France.
As a composer, Menassier has been rather prolific: In 2003, he founded COLLECTIF K, a ten member band, which released one album, Resurrection. The following year, he released his solo debut, Marseille Marseille, a ten song album featuring compositions that were written to evoke life in the French Mediterranean city.
2008’s Picture Shop, a collaboration with Quentin Leroux that was inspired by American movies and it further established Menassier’s sound and aesthetic. In 2011, Menassier and his life partner founded the electro pop act LOO & MONETTI, an act that has released two albums — 2012’s Marla’s song and last year’s Broken Inside, as well as a handful of EPs. Capping off a very busy period, Menassier created the score for Vianney Lebasque’s 2012 film Les Petits Princes.
Released earlier this year, Menassier’s latest effort The Unknown Movie is arguably the most personal album in his catalog. Although he started writing the album’s material back in 2015, the bulk of the album was written between 2017 and 2020 — and the album is the culmination of Menassier’s search for cinematic, lush and atmospheric textures and sounds crafted to be the soundtrack of its creator’s “inner film.” Since the album’s release in April, The Unknown Movie has received attention from the French Press, with the album’s material receiving airplay on international radio stations across the States, UK and Italy.
Now, as you may recall earlier this month, I wrote about “Melancholic Therapy,” a cinematic track centered around twinkling piano arpeggios in a track that builds up in intensity about halfway through with the addition of atmospheric synths. The track evokes an aching sadness — of the recognition of the passing of time; of our impending mortality lurking around the corner; and of everything’s impermanence. The Unknown Movie‘s latest single is the brooding and atmospheric “Theme from the unknown movie.” Centered around twinkling and arpeggiated keys, shimmering synths and metronomic-like beats, “Theme from the unknown movie” manages to evoke lonely and contemplative drives — while bringing Mogwai and Remember Remember to mind.
Speaking of lonely drives, the recently released video features looped footage of the interior of a cab, as it travels down a street. We never see the driver their car actually reach their destination — and that seems so far from the point. Much like its predecessor, the video is a mediation on mundanity and repetition that should feel startling in the age of COVID-19.