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ARTIST
TITLE
Magazin Frivole
FORMAT
LP

LABEL
CATALOG #
BB 325LP BB 325LP
GENRE
RELEASE DATE
11/8/2019

LP version. Bureau B present a reissue of Serge Blenner's Magazin Frivole, originally released in 1981. Cold, concise analog synthesizer instrumentals -- on his second album Serge Blenner remained true to his style, albeit shifting course slightly towards pop territory. The juxtaposition of dark harmonies and pop structures is what makes this album so appealing. In places, it feels like a blueprint for early Depeche Mode. Having seen his first album La Vogue (BB 324CD/LP) snapped up by the Sky Records and fast-tracked for release in 1980, Blenner delivered his second LP, Magazin Frivole, the following year. Mindful of the success of its predecessor, Blenner added the name of his debut in big letters to the front cover of the new sleeve. Blenner remained faithful to his musical style, albeit adding more of a pop flavor. Magazin Frivole would not look out of place filed alongside Depeche Mode on the record shelf, as a certain resemblance is undeniable. Moreover, Blenner was one of the few proponents of electronic music who preferred to keep his songs concise, in contrast to the meandering odysseys of many of his electronic contemporaries. The far better-known French artist Jean-Michel Jarre adhered to similar principles, yet although Blenner was often compared to his compatriot, he claims only to have heard his music long after La Vogue had appeared. Minor chords dominate his harmonies, the bass performs octave leaps which mirror the zeitgeist. Unexpected key changes abound, adding a restless, almost disquieting quality. Overall, Magazin Frivole is less dark than the preceding album, but a picture of cheerfulness it is not. Nevertheless, a poppy drum computer introduces a lighter note. From the very first track, chord changes pop up at unexpected junctures -- they seem to come in prematurely, before harmonic sequences have run their course. Blenner doesn't have any explanation for this curiosity, other than to note that "most of the music was played by hand, so of course it wasn't all perfect." "I did all I could to avoid being successful -- on a subconscious level, at least. Unpredictable metrics and irregular beats were definitely part of the process," Blenner admits with an enigmatic smile. Juxtaposed with Blenner's more recent works, one can see what he means. His latest album Musique de Chambre (2008) comprises modern classical chamber music, built on digitally sampled real instruments. Besides, Blenner points out, handling all of those analog devices was a convoluted and complex undertaking.