Le Bjork Nouveau
You heard it here: the next Bjork is French.
And who doesn’t like Bjork? Well, a lot of people don’t, but nobody wants to appear so unsophisticated and closed minded to the music cognoscenti as to admit it.
So that being the case, allow me to peer-pressure you into rallying behind another first-name only experimental pop chanteuse, Camille.
Already a mild sensation in her native Paris, Camille Dalmais made an alarming evolution from an innocently refreshing French pop sound on her earlier album Le Sac des Filles to a downright edgy and adventurous sonically driven text on her next record, Le Fil. It’s as if her first album was the record the label wanted from her, and the second is who she actually is. Part of the concept behind Le Fil (The Thread) is a single tone (a B natural for you perfect pitch weirdos) that lingers above the mix through the entire album, an unbroken thread of consciousness that ties together the record (and evidently, Camille’s face on the album cover).
And what a record it is; while you can still find remnants of her lush and simple melodic writing from Le Sac des Filles, on Le Fil she bravely uses her voice to mimic everything from muted trumpets to bells to musical glasses, with only the help of sparse accompaniment. And I’ve never encountered the type of beat boxing she spins out on her popular single “Ta doleur” (imagine a child with a mental disorder spitting up lunch, a sound that becomes surprisingly addictive).
I do feel compelled to offer this listening disclaimer: while other French artists like Paris Combo (whose stylish bassist Mano Razanajato once found himself at a gig sans instrument and sang and scatted the bass lines very convincingly) are great for cooking to, supermodel turned singer Carla Bruni is great for sitting in the bath to (that’s right, and I’m not ashamed of it!) and Blue Note It-Girl Keren Ann is great for… falling asleep to (sorry, just not a big fan), listening to Le Fil requires your full attention. Imagine yourself reading a book or driving down Pacific Coast Highway to Stravinsky. Can’t do it! Same here. Considering her cosmic leap between her first two albums, I’m both excited and terrified to see what she comes up with next.