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Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 03:24 am
Brel, Seb, Rog

Here are three videos of Carousel rehearsals last month at Music Bank in the Tower Bridge Business Complex in which I sang through -- for the first time with real musicians -- three Jacques Brel songs arranged by David Coulter and Mike Smith, and translated by me (you can read my translations, two of which were made specially for this performance, beside the videos as they appear on YouTube). The band of twenty musicians (including Roger Eno on piano, Seb Rochford on drums, Leo Abrahams on guitar, Kate St Clair on oboe and Thomas Bloch on onde martinot) performed these songs with me at The Barbican on October 22nd and the Warwick Arts Centre the next day.


Don't Leave Me (Brel's Ne Me Quitte Pas)
(for comparison, watch the 1993 version of my version of this song, filmed in on my Christmas tour of Japan that year)


The Town Tumbled (Brel's La Ville S'Endormait)


Bourgeois Pigs (Brel's Les Bourgeois)


Finally, Jacky, filmed onstage at The Barbican at the end of the first concert.



I was particularly taken with Aberdonian drummer Seb Rochford (of Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland) and his extraordinary afro. Seb exudes a 70s countercultural cool as well as incredible percussive flair, and it was easy to believe Leo's tales of Brian Eno attending recording sessions with Seb, watching all his takes. Here he is doing his stuff:



As for Roger Eno (he crosses the picture at the beginning of the video for The Town Tumbled), the man does this footstomping thing while playing the piano, and grins like Elton John, and loves to laugh, joke and do crosswords. On the tour bus to Warwick I noticed that a lot of the stories he was telling sounded familiar: there was one about the Pepsi campaign that promised "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave", one about Picasso undermining representational image-making by asking a man who showed a photo of his wife "But is she really so small and flat?", one about art being a plane you can crash and walk away from, and one (at my request) about his dad the postman. Eventually the coin dropped. I'd heard some or all these tales from the same source he had: his big brother Brian. But Roger had heard them firsthand.

13CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 06:49 am (UTC)
wait a minute

"Seb exudes a 70s countercultural cool as well as incredible percussive flair"

don't you mean:
"Or how about clothes? Look at these pictures of the The Kings of Leon and The Killers. They're 2009 people, and yet they dress like 1969 people. Now, 1969 was a great year, but isn't that a little sad?
and:
"There's something valuable about preserving the styles of 1970, but also something pathetic."


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
Re: wait a minute

Imagine I declared: "Consistency both is and isn't the hobgoblin of little minds" and then you came along, cited me saying somewhere that it is the hobgoblin of little minds, then reminded me that I'd said it both was and wasn't the hobgoblin of little minds, and accused me of being inconsistent.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 11:08 am (UTC)
Re: wait a minute

so which one is it: rocking the 70s look today is counterculture cool, or kind of sad/pathetic? if your answer is "both," you're the hobgoblin with more explaining to do...


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: wait a minute

Retro Necro is great and tragic at the same time. It's great because revival clearly only revives great things, things worth reviving. So there are more great things in the world. It's tragic because the new things we might be doing now get, as a consequence of the revival of great old things, overshadowed and overlooked. This is the tragedy of rock music in our time, and I've written about it extensively.

And is reviving Brel at the Barbican retro necro? Absolutely.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Re: wait a minute

"It's all good stuff. And it's all sick necrophilia."


ReplyThread Parent
womanonfire
Auriea.
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC)

brilliant. love this. maybe stop blogging but don't stop posting. <3


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
Brel in the UK

Nick

On our way back to Matilda's Peckham flat in the taxi after the Barbican show I mulled over the logistics of taking the Brel Carousel around the country, something you alluded to at the aftershow gathering. I concluded that such a tour bus would stubbornly refuse to leave the depot, any update on the notion?

maf


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Brel in the UK

I think the idea was taking it to places like Sydney Australia, rather than merely around Britain. But no, no further word on that.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
more films please

tell us more movies to watch !


ReplyThread Parent
kuporo_s
kuporo_s
Eugene
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)

hi, momus! have you ever listened to Hermine Demoriane?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermine_Demoriane

i wonder what you think of her.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Nov. 7th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)

No, never heard of her before, but thanks for the tip, lots of interesting stuff in her bio, married to Hugo Williams, Philippe Garrel connections, sounds a bit like Nico, recorded for Crammed Discs, making this:



Her 2008 comeback album sounds like the sort of thing you try hard to avoid on German provincial TV, though!


ReplyThread Parent
pay_option07
pay_option07
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
band of twenty

Good on you mate!

Le spectacle de cabaret fou atmosphere is missing.
Did you enjoy singing with others?


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
Seb

Edward Scissorhands + Georges Perec = Seb


ReplyThread