Two years after combining with Laetitia Sadier so deliciously on the heart-stealing orchestral pop of ‘Je Ne Vois Que Vous,’ Belgian troubadour Benjamin Schoos has once again persuaded the Stereolab vocalist to be his centre piece on forthcoming new EP, Une dernière danse. Label owner of Freaksville Records, Schoos achieved his popular and artistic peak in the UK to-date with their previous collaboration, taken from the richly-stitched fabrics of his 2012 LP China Man vs China Girl. Yet time spent on the road touring that record has pushed Schoos artistically onwards still. Une dernière danse was deftly put together during mid-tour studio stopovers at his own Freaksville home in Belgium, Sputnik Studio in Seville and cult Parisian studio CBE, as well as several haunts in the US and UK.
As an EP it’s a fulsome tapestry of chamber orchestration, breezy pop hooks and light piano motifs, brought together - of course - by Schoos’ irresistibly sultry croon. “It’s a royal mix of dandy decadence and eroticism,” says Schoos cheekily of its knowingly extravagant mix of aural colours. “I composed three of the track with the aim of penetrating people’s mind with blurry melodies.” No more is that in evidence that in the glorious, soaring lead-off title track that features Sadier. The pair met through mutual friends in 2010 and ultimately began working together when the Stereolab singer joined Schoos on stage in London to sing ‘Je Ne Vois Que Vous,’ having been emailed the track some months previously. After what he describes as the “miracle” that was that song’s success, the suave pop writer jumped at offering her another to work on. “I've been a huge fan of her work and Stereolab’s since I was a teen,” Schoos enthuses. “They had a huge influence on the way I create and imagine modern pop music.”
For ‘Une dernière danse,’ they recorded their vocals together in the studio as a true duet with Parisian lyricist Alexandre Chatelard. Schoos’ pouting murmur is the perfect foil to Sadier’s more aerial tones and the song skips along with a care-free wistfulness, strings pared down and synths riding underneath the vocals. “We knew we had to do something different this time,” comments Schoos, “we realised that both of us usually compose mid-tempo songs, so for this went for a faster tempo – which was a lot of fun.”
Sadier’s isn’t the only guest involved on an EP that, given its circumstances of creation, takes in themes of travelling. “It’s about more than that though,” adds Schoos. “It’s also about the supernatural power of love. Love can save us, can save the world and makes us eternal - we are more than cyber animals, you know?” Among those helping him to achieve his aim of global salvation through love include vocalist April March, who appears on the Jacques Duvall co-composed, Serge Gainsbourg-indebted ‘J'ai essayé de t'aimer’ – an artist she herself covered in full on late 90’s LP Gainsbourgsion.
Meanwhile, Spanish artist Miqui Puig appears on the sprawling vocoder-embellished synth cosmos of near-eight minute closing track ‘La vuelta del Doctor Amor.’ Puig is described by Schoos as “Latin mixed with Shaun Ryder,” which is an enjoyably incongruous comparison and also not the only Manchester touchstone on the EP: James Doviak who co-wrote and co-produced Johnny Marr’s The Messenger LP features heavily, producing and playing most notably on the title track. But Une dernière danse is not an EP restricted by location, as each song wriggles away from their beginnings even as they set about fixing themselves permanently in the listener’s brain to make for a bewitching (and hopefully not last) dance.
A l'origine de cette escapade exotique, il y a la tournée intercontinentale de l’album multi-primé « China Man Vs Chinagirl » (coup de coeur Charles Cros, et 2 Octaves de la musique). Au cours des nombreux concerts qui le conduisirent jusqu'en Asie, Benjamin Schoos a enregistré ses nouveaux morceaux au bénéfice des rencontres. Ces 5 titres co-écrits avec Alexandre Châtelard et Jacques Duvall (Alain Chamfort, Lio…) prennent alors la forme d’une excursion musicale au bout du monde. L’occasion de jouer à fond la carte du luxe : opulence des arrangements, ornements délicieusement désuets incluant flûte traversière, cordes ou cuivres langoureux et toujours ces pianos spacieux et spatiaux...
N’y voyez aucun anachronisme, le résultat est justement intemporel. Au nombre des invités citons April March, l’égérie du classieux label de Bertrand Burgalat ayant enregistré à New York un texte de Jacques Duvall. Dans un studio londonien eurent lieu les retrouvailles avec Laetitia Sadier (Stereolab), déjà présente sur le single Je ne vois que vous acclamé en 2012.
" Beautifully produced, the eerie synth sound recalls the Beach Boys' iconic 'Good Vibrations' theremin while the twin male/female vocals are sheer Serge et Brigitte. Francophone pop with a modern edge, this is Ye Ye turned upside down - in other words, utterly Belgian." Clash Music
released April 29, 2014
Produced by Benjamin Schoos and Christophe Cerri for Freaksville Music
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