Ici Et La-Bas


Following 2013's Minuit Dans Tes Bras, Michel Cloup is back with another instalment of his personal history - this time in a duo with the drummer Julien Rufié (Eryn Non Dae). Eleven tracks with the title Ici Et Là-Bas ("Here and Down There") which leaves little doubt as to the album's subject. "I stayed in Rome twice in 2012 for a residency and for a concert at the Villa Medici. It was a year and a half after the death of my mother who was Italian. I was still totally in mourning and really pretty upset. A bunch of memories came back to the surface at a time when I had lost a lot of my bearings. I hadn't finished writing Minuit Dans Tes Bras but I knew I'd found the starting point for the record after that." Over the whole album, Michel explores the many paths his own history has taken and, as is usually the case in his work, uses this to create a universal story which is at the heart of current events. "I realized that what I was going through, this late realization of my dual origins and the way I felt then had a resonance with certain events at the time. So I decided to tell my story in parallel with more general ideas, trying to hook up the personal and the political. The whole thing is a kind of fragmented scenario." The compositions are crystal clear and without embellishments although more arranged and less minimalist than on the two previous albums. The record as a whole sounds more rock in style and more direct particularly because of the playing of Julien Rufié. The songs are relatively short apart from the last two tracks where some Michel's most touching lyrics ever appear. "I wanted to break away from the monolithic side of the first two albums as a duo and move towards something more broken up and varied. Working with Julien gave me a new lease of life, new energy and quicker tempos. Ici Et Là-Bas is a little like my musical identity card and in any case it reflects all my obsessions - rock, French 'chanson', spoken-word, groove, experimentation, psychedelia, power or gentleness. I wanted it to be wild and with no barriers in the spirit of 'Check Your Head' by the Beastie Boys or 'Bubble and Scrape' by Sebadoh."