Sound & Vision with Amélie Raoul

You only have to spend a few moments on Amélie Raoul’s Bandcamp page to realise that music is just one part of her process – such is the attention to detail that has gone into the handprinted Lino printed booklets that sit along her new EP. But this does not mean her songs sit in any way inferior. Quite the opposite, En Rade – which was produced in her newly adopted of Omaha, Nebraska with Ben Brodin – is every bit equal to her beautiful art. Performed entirely in her native language of French, maybe it’s her photography work feeding into the songs that makes it feel part film soundtrack – regardless, it is truly special.

These are Amélie’s Sound & Vision picks:

Three favourite albums:

Jarvis Cocker & Chilly Gonzales – Room 29 (2017)

I’m a big admirer of Jarvis Cocker – from early Pulp to recent solo projects. I have a soft spot for Room 29 – the paired down instrumentation, the solemn piano by Chilly Gonzales, Jarvis’ deep voice front and centre. And, of course, the lyrics: in turns funny, thoughtful, haunting, and always witty. Tearjerker – that song always gets to me.

Destroyer – Destroyer’s Rubies (2006)

Bejar’s surrealist poetry is one-of-a-kind. I discovered this album when I first moved to the US a few years back, and I find myself revisiting it a few times a year. It’s so incredibly dynamic and elegant; his propensity for innovation makes each subsequent record a new and special treat.

Klub Des Loosers – La Fin de L’espèce (2012)

Fuzati’s Klub des Loosers has some of the darkest, most abrasive lyrics in French hip hop. They reflect cynicism toward the modern world and relationships, full of sharp punchlines and dark humor. La Fin de L’espèce reads like the diary of a man at the end of his rope. Listen at your own risk! A choice sample:

‘J’ai des rêves d’épidémie et de vaccins en petit nombre

Vous n’êtes pas des lumières et le futur s’annonce très sombre’

(‘I dream of epidemics and small vaccine amounts

None of you are bright and the future looks dark’)

One film that I love:

Wings of Desire – Wim Wenders (1987)

Two guardian angels, Damiel and Cassiel, watch over the humans of Berlin. This movie is the most beautiful visual poem I’ve ever seen. Wenders allows you to see the world through an angel’s eyes, witnessing and caring for people, though never being a part of their lives. The writing, the characters, the cinematography – everything is so poignant. Sometimes, art can make you feel like we are all a part of something greater. Wings of Desire is this kind of art.

Oh, and Nick Cave appears at the end of the movie.

PS: Don’t watch the Nicholas Cage remake. It’s a dud.

One book that I love:

Blankets – Craig Thompson (2003)

Blankets is my absolute favorite graphic novel. It’s a romanticised autobiography – the story of a small town teenager falling in love, losing his faith and growing into the adult he is now. I discovered it at age 15, and it solidified my love of the graphic novel form. The inked black and white illustrations are stunning, and the storytelling very graceful.

One song that’s important to me:

Bob Dylan – Simple Twist of Fate 

Bob Dylan is one of the artists that made me want to learn English. In high school, I went from failing grades to top of my class thanks to his songs. His voice was so expressive – I wanted to know exactly what he was singing about. One year, as a reward for my efforts, my mom told my high school I was sick for a week and snuck me to New-Zealand; the closest country he was touring in. We went to three of his shows all across the island… it’s one of my fondest memories.

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