Release Date: Apr 22, 2016
Record label: Because
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock
A quote from pianist Glenn Gould appears on Nicolas Godin's first solo album Contrepoint: "All the basic statements have been made for posterity, now I think what we must do is try to find our way around these things … to find a raison d'etre." Though Gould died in 1982, his words sum up the challenge of being a musician in the 21st century, when it not only seems like everything has been done before, but there's recorded proof that it has been. On Contrepoint, Godin rises to this challenge. Inspired by Gould's interpretations of Johann Sebastian Bach's works, Godin uses the composer's pieces as the starting point for each of the album's excursions.
Seasoned ravers were in awe of French band Air in the late 90s, thanks to their light and dreamy Moog-driven album 'Moon Safari'. But after six albums, half of the Gallic duo, Nicolas Godin, declared: "I'd become a travelling monkey in a concert circus." Now, he's released his first solo LP. Reminiscent of Air at their most wistful, these eight pieces explore Godin's new-found interest in Canadian pianist Glenn Gould, as well as classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach.Connan Mockasin plays guitar, French singer Gordon Tracks and Brazil's Marcelo Camelo bring the vocal mystique, and the whole thing smells of fresh-cut grass and warm...
Nicolas Godin's talents have been established over seven albums as one half of the French duo Air. Contrepoint marks Godin's first solo album. There are two key inspirations behind Contrepoint: classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach, eight of whose works are used as starting points for the eight tracks on the album, and pianist Glenn Gould. Contrepoint, is, in two words, cinematic and storytelling.
The music of Johann Sebastian Bach has long held a fascination beyond the classical world. It is difficult to imagine the very different worlds of Procol Harum and Kraftwerk existing without his influence, while Donna Summer and Jethro Tull also dabbled. Now the name of Air’s Nicolas Godin can now be added to the pop songwriters who have fallen under his spell.
Nicolas Godin’s place in the history of French electronica – as half of Air – is secure. But his first solo album would suggest he thinks he’s been misunderstood. Formed of eight meditations that each incorporate the music of classical composer Johann Sebastian Bach, Contrepoint is an occasionally unwelcoming, often dark listen. Those Bach sections – sometimes merely seconds – stand out among the multilingual, monotone voices and vintage synths, and only on the brief opener Orca does the pace lift above what can sometimes feel funereal.
Nicolas Godin has always been a renaissance man, but now on his first solo debut he's reaching into the triumphal final phase of that celebrated cultural epoch, bringing the baroque into the 21st century. It's not an unfathomable feat, and certainly not too much of a stretch of the imagination; Brian Wilson, The Beatles, the Bee Gees etc etc, have all farmed the 18th century for ideas, but an album that exclusively mines the oeuvre of Johann Sebastian Bach by way of Canadian concert pianist Glenn Gould is a bit more unusual. Contrepoint (or counterpoint in English) is a meticulously-executed album of works that conflates obsessive geekery with a heightened sense of melody, all the great things that Godin has brought to Air over the last 20 years.