Following the success of first video Orca last month, today Nicolas Godin announces the release of his solo album Contrepoint in September on Because Music. To mark the occasion Godin has unveiled a second video from the album for the track ‘Widerstehe Doch Der Sunde’ (which translates as “stay away from sin”). Directed by The Sacred Egg and produced by Riff Raff Films, this haunting and intriguing video was filmed in South Africa and features surfing zombie figures riding 30 foot waves on 50s boards in homage to classic zombie movies. Of the video Godin states: “Fascination for temptation, how could that be illustrated? I didn’t have a specific idea and The Sacred Egg came up with an unexpected one. And the beauty of this video says it all to me: these magnified surfing zombies riding sensual yet menacing waves, the thrill of that dangerous ‘ballet’, perfectly echo what the song is about: fatal attraction for forbidden pleasures.”
After seven albums as one half of celebrated musical duo AIR, Nicolas Godin’s first solo album Contrepoint has reached back in time to move further forward. On AIR’S last tour, in 2010 Godin realised that he’d reached an impasse. “I observed that music was taking up only a small part of my daily life,” he recalls. “And every day on tour was the same. I had become what Glenn Gould called ‘a travelling monkey in the concert circus…’”
Glenn Gould: “A legendary name,” Godin ventures. The late Canadian pianist had extraordinary abilities as well as eccentric disciplines and personal obsessions, one being the work of classical music genius Johann Sebastian Bach. One of the 18th century German maestro’s key disciplines was counterpoint – contrepoint in French; namely, the relationship between interdependent harmonies that remain independent in rhythm and contour.
Godin: “A musician friend had told me about the two documentaries Bruno Monsaingeon had made about Gould, Hereafter and The Alchemist. I watched Gould, who is one of the greatest musicians of all time, playing the most beautiful music of all time, Bach. I think the extremely personal way that Gould interpreted Bach goes against all the normal rules of performance, which for me created a new art form. I was immediately attracted to this mysterious and inaccessible universe, which I wanted to explore when I got home to Paris.”
The end result is Contrepoint , a dazzling experience that conjoins Godin’s former habitual musical fusions with classical forms, taking the listener on multiple adventurous journeys, often within each song, with counterpoint just one of its many landmarks. It’s remarkably varied in tone and rhythm, splicing genres with a bold, punchy and yet sensual and sweeping feel, with a variety of enticing lyrical narratives, and a starry international cast of guests, such as French vocalist Gordon Tracks, Brazilian singer Marcelo Camelo, Italian author Alessandro Barrico, New Zealand guitarist Connan Mockasin and the choir from Macedonia’s F.A.M.E.’S. Project. But the unifying force of Contrepointis Johann Sebastian Bach. Each album track uses a Bach piece as its source, before jumping off to all manner of new places. Glenn Gould is also in the mix, though more as a spiritual guide than compositional.
Working in tandem with co-songwriter, arranger, keyboardist and Bach specialist Vincent Taurelle at AIR’s Studio de l’Atlas in Paris, Godin ended up with eight stunningly individual pieces, “taking parts of Bach’s scores, then creating new parts,” he recalls. “Sometimes only thirty seconds of Bach’s original music was left behind. But I want people to listen to Contrepoint without noticing that it’s Bach as it’s as much a tribute to all the great composers that have inspired me. Making a record about Bach leads to all composers who have listened to Bach.”
Contrepoint will be released 18th September on Because Music.