Archive for November, 2006

L’hôtel particulier – Serge Gainsbourg

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

These videos are fantastic, and the music is even better. It’s impossible to miss the influence Serge Gainsbourg has had on the likes of Beck and David Holmes. The quiet bass, the soft drums, the flowing strings… it all just *sounds* like it was recorded in a dark room on a night of tortured passion.

I hastily mused to the friend who posted the first video I saw that Holmes and Beck “might” have sampled this stuff. It was a silly thing to say, because there is, after listening to the whole album, no doubt at all. Gainsbourg’s “Historie de Melody Nelson” spans huge leaps of inference between artifacts of contemporary music, film and video I’ve come to take for granted. His closeups in the video all but canonize “forlorn smoking Frenchman” as seen in countless works produced since then (including my own short film, “Forlorn Smoking Frenchman”). Even if “Melody Nelson” isn’t the most compelling name for a heroine in an epic French concept album, this material is badass.

The recordings also remind me that I need a turntable and a phono stage. Anyone with a spare, let me know.