Posts Tagged ‘David Bowie’

『別府NIGHTS』 was released on 15th of December, 2006. 10 years ago. Besides making it now available on Bandcamp, Gilles Snowcat leaked a few laconic comments on what many still see as his masterpiece, and some rare pictures of what was nurturing the creation of those 5 unique pieces of music.

There’s a double truth about rock stars: they all want to find their musical DNA. And they all fall in a deep, consuming love for Japan once they step inside the Rising Sun for the first time.

Waiting for the evening. (別府市)

Let’s take David Bowie. He always admitted having found his musical DNA with his so-called Berlin era. And he fell in love with Japan, to the point of finding some shelter there.

What’s the link with Gilles Snowcat? Obviously, it’s even stronger: he found his musical DNA in Japan. Precisely: “There’s a span of time, let’s say, when all the good witches were suddenly very present, very awake, and they were like saying Go ahead, little Cat, write songs and they’ll be good, very good.”

Blue is the prelude of the night. (別府市)

That span can be seen as from the Autumn 2001 till early 2016, but Snowcat gives a more focussed explanation:

“It really started with the Cà Phê & Pizza song, I don’t know but something strange happened, it was a feeling that something new has just arrived. You could feel the air was carrying some magic, not sissy magic but some spell, some bewitching…”

When there’s rock, there’s fuel. (別府市)

After all, wasn’t Gilles born on Mardi Gras day? This inspirational trance led to a bunch of great releases, including the most seminal, Beppu Nights, making the news 10 years after its release.

Make the news like 10 years ago… and 10% discount ’till 1st of January 2017 if you buy Beppu Nights and type the secret code ILOVEJAPAN.

More visual memories from that enchanted era -when you reach a point and know that whatever you’ll do next, you’re in and there’s no turning back and that’s the thrill of it all. That’s Japan. That was in 2006. And still in 2016. Merry Xmas and have a shockingly great year 2017.

Blur is the night. (大分市)

The train was leaving at some point. (小倉市)

Gilles Snowcat, somehow under heavy fascination. (別府市)

Lust for life, life for lust. (京都)

Creatures of the night. (東京)

Cats DO rock. (小倉市)

Limousines in waiting for some ageing rock star. (熊本市)

Another city, another night, another river, another high. (京都)

Leather and old trains. (大分市)

Addicted to the mighty 餅. (別府市)

Yet another city. (大阪???)

Another rock star pleasure. (大分市)

Colours of the night are like a siren’s song to rock children. (東京)

Oh my… what to listen to in the lounge these rainy and / or hot summer days ?

If you’re an avid Awa-news reader, which I bet you are, you may remember the interview of a guy named Franck Carducci, in the issue 19. This talented multi-instrumentist revealed secrets about his forthcoming album, that’s not forthcoming at all anymore, since it has been released in the spring of this very year 2011: “Oddity”.

Carducci told us he had been kinda pushed by Steve Hackett (the guy wearing big glasses in Genesis between 1971 and 1977) to record a solo album, after years of being part of the country-folk band Matis. Although “Oddity” is his first solo album to date, Franck Carducci is not exactly a newcomer: he’s haunting the live scene of Amsterdam, played in some 15 albums and opened a show for Mr Hackett last year. Some destinies are worse. 😀

The cover artwork is rather cute, full of symbols, and, similarly to the musical content: perfectly timeless.

Carducci brought his own musical universe, should I say his family, into his first effort. You’ll find some familiar names like John Hackett (brother of who you know), Larry Crockett (soulful drummer linked to another big glasses wearer: Elton John), Niko Leroy (the one who played bass on the “How Many ‘L’ Were In Your Name?” single from Awaken –although no one wears big glasses there), his former employer Yanne Matis and a buch of equally talented cats.

Talented is the first word that comes to mind: Carducci plays in another league and his musicianship is not far from the classical rigor. His superbly fluid piano playing being an obvious proof.
He shines at the bass too and provides some more than decent guitar parts at the same time. Add to this list a powerful and clear voice and you can make half of the prog scene musicians jealous of Mr Carducci’s skills.

But the most interesting point here seems to be his inspiration as a songwriter and arranger. Among the 5 songs that make the backbone of “Oddity”, there isn’t any trace of a filler, the songs have a density of ideas that makes it a valuable investment for your hi-fi, your mp3 player and of course your ears.
The music is so strong and inspired that even those who could be resistant to the prog-rock clichés are likely to love this album.

It’s easy to be stunned by the powerful changes of mood provided by “Achilles”, find your eyes becoming wet to the unexpected melancholia of “The Quind”, being caught in the spacey turmoil of “The Last Oddity” (with some tribute to David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Mr Kubrick –tell me, did he wear big glasses?) and having a blast with the guitar-driven “Alice’s Eerie Dream” (hat-trick to Michael Strobel). But maybe the most interesting tune is the catchy country folk “The Eyes Of Age” (featuring fellows from band Matis), which is a kind of sorbet between two main dishes. Delightful!

Now, there’s a weakness to that album, but luckily only in the bonus tracks: the cover of “Carpet Crawlers” is nice but nothing groundbreaking, thus sounds flat compared to the sparkling party of Carducci’s own songs; and the radio edit of “Alice’s Eerie Dream” is one more evidence that radio edits are the most insulting mixes that can be done to a song.

The lyrics are less appealing to me, despite Carducci’s will to eventually let Alice evolve in a neon-lit Wonderland. At least she finally got a job, which may pay her magic pills.

Conclusion: a strong, inspired and timeless effort, with skillful musicians and smart enough to fall into the usual prog-rock cliché. Worth bringing to the Lounge.



Carducci home :

Carducci Shop :

日本の店 :