Tag: Nouvelle Vague

New VIdeo: Ballaké Sissoko Teams Up with Nouveau Vague’s Camille on a Gorgeous New Single

Ballaké Sissoko is an acclaimed Malian-born, Paris-based kora player. who comes from a deeply musical family: Sissoko is the son of equally acclaimed, kora master Djelimady Sissoko, who may be best known for his work with Ensemble Instrumental Du Mali. Drawn to the kora at a very young age, the younger Sissoko was taught the instrument by his father. Tragically. Djelmady died while his children were very young — and Ballaké stepped up to take the on the role of breadwinner, eventually taking his father’s place in the Ensemble Instrumental Du Mali.

The younger Sissoko has had a long-held fascination with genres and sounds outside of scope of the Mandika people — i.e., flamenco guitar, sitar and others — which, inspired a series of critically applauded collaborations with a diverse and eclectic array of musicians across the globe, including acclaimed French cellist Vincent Segal, Toumani Diabaté, legendary bluesman Taj Mahal and Ludovic Einaudi.

Sissoko’s 11th album Djourou is slated for an April 9, 2021 release through his long-time label home Nø Førmat Records. The album will feature solo compositions and a number of thoughtful collaborations with a collection of diverse and unexpected artists outside of the Mandinka musical genre for which his griot caste is celebrated globally, including Nouvelle Vague’s Camille, African legend Salif Keita, young, leading female kora player Sona Jobareth, the aforementioned Vincent Segal and Malian-born, French emcee Oxmo Puccino among others.

Djourou, which derives its name from the Bambara word for string, can trace its origins to when Sissoko approached Nø Førmat label head Laurent Bizot with the proposition of blending solo kora pieces with unexpected collaborations. The label and Sissoko mutually agreed that he take the time to confirm enriching and challenging partnership with artists, who were fans of Sissoko’s work. The album took a painstaking yet fruitful two years to complete.

So far I’ve written about two of Djourou’s released singles:

“Frotter Les Mains,” deriving its title from the French phrase for “rub hands,” the mediative track is centered around the simple percussive element of Sissoko rubbing his hands back and forth, shimmering plucked kora and Malian-born, French-based emcee Oxmo Puccino’s dexterous and heady bars in French. While being a much-needed bit of peace, thoughtfulness and empathetic connection in a world that’s often batshit insane, the two artists make a virtual connection between the ancient and the modern, the West and Africa — with an important reminder that hip hop is the lingua franca of post-modern life.
Album title track “Djourou,” which sees Sissoko collaborating with leading Gambian-born, female kora player Sona Jobarteh. Centered around the duo holding a musical conversation by trading expressive and shimmering, melodic kora lines paired with ethereal interwoven vocals. Much like its immediate predecessor, the track finds its collaborations making a vital connection — this time across both contemporary African borders and across time. Sissoko sought out Jobarteh with a specific wish to connect with the younger generation of kora players — to rejoin with their common forebears, to weave a connective thread across borders that were unknown and unimagined to the griots of the Malian Empire’s presence over much of West Africa.

“When I met Ballaké, we said to ourselves that to talk to each other we had to play together, and that’s how we spoke best: we played under a tree, outside, and part of the melody came to me like that,” Camille recalls. “I wanted to write a song about the kora, the mystery of this instrument, and I started asking him questions: about woodwind, etc. but it’s not a luthier’s song, it’s a love song. Love is fire, love is water. And the sound of the kora is like flowing water.”

“Kora,” was realized with a simple yet strikingly shot bit of live footage shot in Paris’ Bois de Vincennes Park by Julien Borel and Vladimir Cagnolari , which captures the duo’s incredible musical simpatico.

Throughout the course of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about Carré,  a Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that JusticeSoulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels ClineJonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year, and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops while thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality centered around geometric shapes and patterns, and a surrealistic outlook on our world.

The trio released their self-titled EP earlier this year, and the EP featured “Urgency,” a track centered round a bed of tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, bursts of slashing guitars and gauzy, electronic textures. And while being hypnotic and dance floor friendly, “Urgency” possessed a murky and menacing air that brought Ministry and Pretty Hate Machine-era Nine Inch Nails to mind.

Recently, the members of the JOVM mainstay act partnered with local act President Drone, who completely reworked “Urgency” into a minimalist yet propulsive track centered around stuttering beats, wobbling and shimmering synth arpeggios, industrial clink and clang that pushes Carré’s sound into an even more dystopian and murky direction.

New Video: Ballaké Sissoko Teams Up with Oxmo Puccino on a Gorgeous and Meditative New Single

Acclaimed Malian-born, Paris-based kora player Ballaké Sissoko is the son of Djelimady Sissoko, a master kora player, best known for playing with the Ensemble Instrumental Du Mali. Drawn to the instrument at a very young age, the younger Sissoko was taught by his father. Tragically, Djelmady died while his children was very young — and Ballaké stepped up to take on the role of the family breadwinner and took his father’s place in the Ensemble Instrumental Du Mali.

A long-held fascination with genres and sounds outside of the scope of the Mandinka people’s scope – – i.e., flamenco guitar and sitar — inspired a series of critically applauded collaborations with a diverse and eclectic array of musicians across the globe, including a acclaimed French cellist Vincent Segal, Toumani Diabaté, legendary bluesman Taj Mahal and Ludovic Einaudi.

Slated for a February 19, 2021 release through Nø Førmat Records, Sissoko’s 11th full-length album Djourou will feature solo compositions and a number of thoughtful collaborations with diverse and unexpected artists outside of Mandinka musical genre for which his griot caste is celebrated — and the list of collaborators include Nouvelle Vague’s Camille, African legend Salif Keita, leading female kora player Sona Jobareth, the aforementioned Vincent Segal and Malian-born, French emcee Oxmo Puccino among others.

Djourou, which derives its name from the Bambara word for string, can trace its origins to when Sissoko approached Nø Førmat label head Laurent BIzot with the proposition of blending solo kora pieces with unexpected collaborations. With a mutual emphasis between the artist and the label, that they take he time to confirm enriching and challenging partnerships with artists, who were also fans of Sissoko’s work, Djourou has been a slow-burn album in the making since 2018.

Djourou’s first single is the mediative “Frotter Les Mains,” featuring acclaimed French emcee Oxmo Puccino. Deriving its name from the French term for “rub hands.” the track mirrors some of the song’s percussive elements that Sissoko created in the studio. Centered around Sissoko’s gorgeously cascading kora chords and Puccino’s dexterous flow, “Frotter Les Mains” is a much-needed bit of peace, thoughtless and kindness in a world gone absolutely batshit. Additionally, the song — in my mind, at least — serves as a vital connection between the ancient and the modern, between the West and Africa, and as a reminder that hip-hop is the lingua franca that binds us all.

Puccino was among the first artists to be recruited for the album. And interestingly, the studio sessions was a personal and professional highlight: he recalls that, he was introduced to Sissoko by Vincent Segal “as an uncle.” Puccino continues, “Life never leaves me alone: it either makes fun of me or it makes me feel so small. This time the staging was perfect. Vincent Segal helped me to take my art to the next level. This day he presented me to Ballaké, who my parents used to listen to when he was playing in Mali’s National Orchestra. I used to dream when Vincent was speaking to me about Bamako and their recording session. I have been waiting for this opportunity and to meet together. When I was invited to take part in the album, I only thought for 2 minutes before finding an obvious theme; the voice of our body, or rather its subtitle: our hands. I’m coming from a lineage of Blacksmiths and Ballaké is descended from a long line of kora players.”

Directed by Julien Borel and Vladimir Cagnolari, the recently released video for “Frotter Les Mains” features intimately and gorgeously shot footage of the duo in the studio.

CARRÉ · Freeform

If you’ve been following this site over the past few months, you may know that Carré is a rapidly rising Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “square,” “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops. Thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality through a surrealistic outlook of our world. Visually, their work features geometric shapes and patterns.

The French-born, Los Angeles-based trio’s self-titled EP is slated for a Friday release through Nomad Eel Records — and so far, I’ve written about “This is not a band,” a propulsive club banger that brought Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method to mind—  and the Ministry and early Nine Inch Nails-like “Urgency.” “Freeform,” the EP’s latest single is decidedly free flowing and improvised jam centered around glistening synth arpeggios, shimmering blasts of guitar an insistent motorik groove, hi-hat led four-on-the-floor, ethereal samples and vocodered vocals. And while the song sonically brings Uncanny Valley-era Midnight JuggernautsTour de France-era Kraftwerk and Primal Scream to mind, it also reveals an incredibly tight band of musicians, who are pushing each other and their work into new and trippy dimensions.

 

New Video: Rapidly Rising Act Carré Releases a Lysergic Visual for Club Banging “Urgency”

Carré is a rapidly rising Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:

Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.
Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year — and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops while thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality centered around geometric shapes and patterns, and a surrealistic outlook on our world.

Released earlier this year, the Los Angeles-based trio’s debut single “This is not a band” was a propulsive, club banger that sonically brought Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method to mind— but with a primal and furious intensity. Building upon the momentum of their debut single, the rising trio’s second and latest single is the dark and seductive, “Urgency.” Centered around a bed of  tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, bursts of slashing guitars and gauzy electronic textures — while words from Terence McKenna hover ethereally. Continuing an ongoing run of hypnotic, thumping, club rocking material, the new single possess a menacing air that brings Ministry and early Nine Inch Nails to mind. 

Directed by Patrick Fogarty, the recently released video for “Urgency” manages to continue the trio’s ongoing collaboration with the directer is a slick synthesis of live action footage and CGI-based graphics that evoke a lysergic journey through the subconscious. 

CARRÉ · Urgency

 

Carré is a Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring:

  • Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world.
  • Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream.
  • Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot.

Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year, and as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”

The act specializes in a French electronica-inspired sound that blends aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops while thematically, their work generally touches upon conception, abstraction and distortion of reality centered around geometric shapes and patterns, and a surrealistic outlook on our world.

Released last month, the Los Angeles-based trio’s debut single “This is not a band” was a propulsive, club banger that sonically brought Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method to mind— but with a primal and furious intensity. Building upon the momentum of their debut single, the rising trio’s second and latest single is the dark and seductive, “Urgency.” Centered around a bed of  tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, bursts of slashing guitars and gauzy electronic textures — and just over that, words from Terence McKenna ethereally hover. And while being a hypnotic and dance floor friendly song, it possesses a murky and menacing air, that subtly recalls Ministry and others.

 

New Video: Introducing the Explosively Aggressive Dance Floor Friendly Sound of Los Angeles’ Carré

Carré is a Los Angeles-based indie electro rock act featuring: 

Julien Boyé (drums, percussion, vocals): Boyé has had stints as a touring member of Nouvelle Vague and James Supercave. Additionally, he has a solo recording act Acoustic Resistance, in which he employs rare instruments, which he has collected from all over the world. 
Jules de Gasperis (drums, vocals, synths, production and mixing): de Gasperis is a Paris-born, Los Angeles-based studio owner. Growing up in Paris, he sharpened his knowledge of synthesizers, looping machines and other electronics around the same time that Justice, Soulwax and Ed Banger Records exploded into the mainstream. 
Kevin Baudouin (guitar, vocals, synth, production): Baudouin has lived in Los Angeles the longest of the trio — 10 years — and he has played with a number of psych rock acts, developing a uniquely edgy approach to guitar, influenced by Nels Cline, Jonny Greenwood and Marc Ribot. 
Deriving their name for the French word for “playing tight” and “on point,” the Los Angeles-based trio formed last year. And as the band’s Jules de Gasperis explains in press notes, “The making of our band started with this whole idea of having two drummers perform together. It felt like a statement. We always wanted to keep people moving and tend to focus on the beats first when we write.”  

Aesthetically, the act specializes in blending aggressive, dark and chaotic elements with hypnotic drum loops inspired by French electronica. Thematically, their work is generally about conception, abstraction and distortion of reality, inspired by a geometric shapes and patterns and a surrealistic outlook on our world. The act’s debut single “This is a not a band” is a propulsive, club banger centered around layers of synth arpeggios, explosive and angular guitar squiggles, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, four-on-the-floor drumming, some industrial clang and clatter, shouted vocals, a distorted vocal loop and an arena rock friendly hook. Sonically, the song finds the trio’s sound somewhere in between Factory Floor, The Rapture, Primal Scream, Kasabian, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method– but with a primal and furious intensity. 

Directed by Patrick Fogarty the recently released video is hypnotic and mind-bending visual shot features glitchy and explosive blasts of color that undulate with the music, glowing geometric shapes and more. 

New Video: Acclaimed Antillean-French Singer-Songwriter Gerald Toto Releases a Sensual Video for “You Got Me”

Born in France, the Antillean-French singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Toto’s parents were tax officials; however, they were ardent and obsessive music lovers and their vinyl collection, which featured American soul, Afro-Caribbean dance music, Congolese soukous and Cameroonian makossa was essential listening to a young Toto. By the time Toto was ten, he picked up guitar and bass. And by the time, he was in college, he used a student loan to finance the building of a home studio, with which he quickly became an intrinsic part of the French underground music scene, as a pioneering wold music artist and producer. 

Toto has collaborated with a diverse and eclectic array of artists including Algerian rai singer Faudel, Parisian act Nouvelle Vague and Middle Eastern electro futurists Smadi; but it was his breakthrough collaboration with French-Antillean singer/songwriter Gerald Toto, Cameroonian jazz musician Richard Bona Toto Bona Lokua that led to two internationally applauded albums — 2005’s commercially successful, self-titled debut and 2017’s well-received Bondeko — all while each individual member was busy with their own diverse series of projects both solo and with other artists. 

Last year was a very busy year for the Antillean-French singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist: Toto Bona Lokua released their third full-length album and he released a solo album, Sway — both which were released through Nø Førmat. Now, as you may recall, album single “Away” was centered around a languid and tropical groove, gently strummed guitar, brief bursts of arpeggiated synths and an infectious hook paired with Toto’s yearning falsetto. Sonically speaking, the song further cemented the acclaimed Antillean-French’s reputation for crafting breezy and mischievously difficult to categorize pop that draws from Tropicalia, Bossa nova, 70s soul, Afro pop, French pop and folk, while encouraging the listener to slow down a bit to pay attention to the gentle sway of life’s natural rhythms.  Interestingly, the album’s latest single “You Got Me” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor —  breezy and infectious pop; but at its core, the song is thematically centered around desire, longing and profound loneliness. 

Created by Cannes-nominated French agency Temple Caché, the recently released video features sensual and humorous depictions of mundane daily gestures — cooking, sunbathing, a cat grooming itself, a young couple in a stolen moment in their car. But within these small moments, each character within the video is actually longing for something that they may not be able to receive. As Toto says in press notes about the video, “The sensualist acidulated video for ‘You Got Me’, through the depiction of seemingly anodyne daily gestures like cooking, sunbathing, a cat grooming himself; reveals the life of the inhabitants of a neighbourhood soaked with desire, pleasure & stolen moments, often in connection with nature. But under the luscious joy of the colours, humour & earthiness, surfaces a sense of longing and loneliness. As in cooking, love and the romantic relationship require generosity, presence and time. We must make ourselves consciously available, consent to the vulnerability of laying bare and let go.”