Albums

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Classical - Released January 18, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
A new aesthetic calls for new forms: such is the challenge the composer set for himself in the two works presented here. In Les Nuits d’été, Berlioz pioneered, well before Mahler and Ravel, a song cycle for voice and orchestra. In Harold in Italy, scored for large orchestra and solo viola, he experimented with the symphonic genre. These period-instrument performances by Les Siècles, led by François-Xavier Roth, with violist Tabea Zimmermann, also feature Stéphane Degout in the vocal cycle, heard here in the composer’s own version for baritone. File under: out of the ordinary. © harmonia mundi
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 19, 2018 | Communion Group Ltd

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
It wouldn't be right to reduce Tamino-Amir Moharam Fouad simply to an heir of Jeff Buckley with hints of Radiohead from their earlier years. The Belgian songwriter, only 21 years old, offers much more than that on his first album, even if Colin Greenwood, the bassist from Radiohead, does feature on the album... Tamino, an Antwerp-native and John Lennon-admirer, has always kept his Egyptian origins preserved in a corner of his head, under his jet-black mane. The Arabic music that his mother played at home must have been all the more influential when it was the work of Muharram Fouad, his singer-actor grandfather, a star in Cairo in the sixties... This eclecticism is at the heart of Tamino's music, which owes as much to Buckley folk music as it does to Beatles pop and even to the nonchalant melancholy of Leonard Cohen, another one of his idols. To fuse these disparate influences, the mysterious young man possesses a deadly weapon: his voice. It’s an equally versatile organ, capable of stretching slowly and transforming itself into a stunning falsetto, an impressive technique that he never abuses. It is this voice that transforms Amir into a long and poignant novel. A coming-of-age story that alternates between the dreamer (the pure folk on Verses) and the lyrical poet as on So It Goes, Each Time and Intervals, conceived around a section of Arabic strings. A Qobuzissime album that’s oozing with original and touching poetry. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Reggae - Released October 5, 2018 | Yotanka Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Rap/Hip-Hop - Released September 28, 2018 | BMG Rights Management GmbH

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Eight years have passed since the Californians of Cypress Hill’s last album yet the band are still all over the scene, both with solo projects and collaborations. Cypress Hill’s energy on stage is unparalleled, which guarantees them a place at most festivals around the world. The promise of this new album, “Elephants on Acid”, is primarily based on the return of DJ Muggs, their brilliant producer, who is picking up right where he left off, between sixties psychedelics, blazing breakbeats and smoky mysticism. Just like on the very detailed gothic album cover, Muggs unearths a monster buried deep underground and resurrects the legend of “Temple of Boom”, the band’s labyrinth album released in 1995. Between drugs and spirituality, B-Real, the main rapper, reinterprets Cypress Hill’s rather dark repertoire, halfway between Los Angeles Latino culture and hallucinating fantasy à la H.P. Lovecraft. With a few more recreational tracks like “Crazy” or “Oh Na Na”, which make the group sound like a mutant gypsy marching band, Cypress Hill are revitalised, though slightly removed from the saturated guitars of their earlier releases. Ending on “Stairway To Heaven” which is reminiscent of the ethereal soul of Portishead or Massive Attack, “Elephants on Acid” is a multi-layered journey around the mind, in which listeners can both lose and find themselves. © Aurélien Chapuis/Qobuz

French Music - Released September 28, 2018 | [PIAS] Le Label

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince… With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2018 | Naive

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Rock - Released September 14, 2018 | Parlophone UK

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
As the icon of a generation, a bona fide star since his beginnings with the Jam, the Modfather has always inspired and fascinated fans, even just with his haircut! And in the year of his 60th birthday, Paul Weller is still giving his best. As always… Made up for the most part of acoustic songs, True Meanings, his 26th album (the 14th in solo), is far removed from his 2015 Saturns Pattern. Here, Weller seems to take a step back and reflect. He goes back to something extremely simple, straightforward, a floral and poetic album. As if the recording took place in a flowery meadow on a summer evening for an audience of insomniac romantics. Introspection is under way. The British artist studies the elements around him, dwells on his memories, sings a fanciful tribute to Bowie, all without omitting his distortions between jazz and soul… True Meanings in itself is a Wellerian praise of ballad. It starts nicely and slowly with a guitar theme, before being wrapped in violins and background vocals. It’s an absolute delight to hear the Modfather live up to his seventies masterpieces like English Rose and Liza Radley. Even though Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler are no longer by his side in the studio, Paul Weller has always managed to surround himself with talent, as illustrated by the guests on True Meanings: Rod Argent from the Zombies (The Soul Searchers), Lucy Rose (Books), Tom Doyle (Movin On) and even a small appearance of Noel Gallagher on White Horses… A calm, laidback voice that fits perfectly with the few compositions of songwriter Erland Cooper from the band Erland and the Carnival. Two lyricists for an album that discreetly and subtly draws from genres, like this invention of a glam-rock picking ballad: Mayfly. A beautiful reference to T. Rex’s Get It On, without the glitter of course. No doubt about it, Paul Weller is a “Changingman” with delicate taste. © Clara Bismuth/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released August 31, 2018 | Jazz Village

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
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Dying today. In Creole, mo jodi. The title says it all for Delgres’ first album, an impeccable trio that could easily be compared to what would happen if the Black Keys dropped their anchor in the Antilles… Delgres for Louis Delgrès, an abolitionist infantry colonel born in Saint-Pierre, famous for his anti-slavery proclamation, a high point of Guadeloupe’s resistance against Napoleonic troops who wanted to restore the slave trade. When Louis Delgrès and his 300 men realised all was lost when faced with Bonaparte’s soldiers, they decided to commit suicide using their explosives, by virtue of the revolutionary emblem live free or die… However, this historic name doesn’t constrain Pascal Danaë, Baptiste Brondy and Rafgee to only be a “band with a message”. Delgres proudly waves its name and the ideals that go with it, but focuses first and foremost on making rock with a touch of garage, fed with some primitive blues, raw soul music and sounds from New Orleans. Combining dobro guitar, drums and sousaphone – an atypical tuba popular in the carnival fanfares of the Antilles and New Orleans −, the trio assert their originality. In his writing too, Danaë goes back and forth − with great ease − between Creole and English, blurring the lines between his influences, which he has always treated with taste throughout his long career (he was for instance involved in Rivière Noire, best World Music album at the 2015 Victoires de la Musique). A stylistic kaleidoscope, illustrated by the ballad Séré mwen pli fo, sung in duo with Morcheeba’s Skye Edwards. In its edgier moments as well as nostalgic and absorbing sequences, Mo Jodi talks about History, but also hope, and builds bridges between continents and centuries to create a blissful journey of rock’n’blues’n’soul that will take you by the guts! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

French Music - Released August 31, 2018 | Musique Sauvage ()

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Maghreb - Released June 15, 2018 | Glitterbeat Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
An escapee from the collective Bargou 08, Tunisian electro musician Sofyannn Ben Youssef took on the pseudonym Ammar 808 to release his hair-raising first album. As with 808 State, English pioneers of the Manchester acid movement, the name is a reference to the legendary TR 808 drum machine, which was the pride of any electro or hip-hop producer's arsenal in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And while this machine teams up with traditional North African instruments (guembri lute, gasba flute, zukra pipes), it doesn't impose a dominant retro feel on the album. The crafty producer has also brought along a few of the most remarkable voices of the North African scene: his compatriot Cheb Hassen Tej (Ichki lel Bey, El Bidha Wessamra), the Moroccan Mehdi Nassouli (Boganga & Sandia, Layli), found here alongside Titi Robin, and the Algerian Sofiane Saïdi (Zine Ezzine), with whom Ammar 808 pursues a fruitful dialogue, which was begun in the company of Mazalda on the very winning album El Ndjoum. Ammar 808 lines up covers of traditional pieces, but dresses them in futurist combinations. Already excited by the good surprises thrown up by the electro chaabi movement, and by the Acid Arab collective, this Maghreb United shows that in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, clubbers will still be filling the dancefloors. © Benjamin MiNiMuM/Qobuz
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Secular Vocal Music - Released April 27, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - 4F de Télérama - Exceptional sound
We could say that the composers chosen here by Sébastien Daucé and the Ensemble Correspondances cover England from 1600 to 1700, from Coprario's generation (real name Cooper, but Italicised for fashion reasons!), Johnson and Lanier, all born before the turn of the 17th century, up to Hart and Blow who died just after. Step by step, we follow the integration of the new art brought over from Italy, although the typically-Italian recitations remain coloured by "declamation", a typical feature of English music. Another clear pivot is the twenty-year musical hiatus between the start of the Civil War in 1642 and the Restoration with Charles II's return to the throne, and in between, the Puritan religious dictatorship of Cromwell, which tried to ban more or less any form of celebration, including music. A number of English artists chose exile in the countryside, teaching music, or went abroad. This comprehensive selection spanning a whole century allows the Correspondances ensemble, a broad group of singers and instrumentalists, to show their deep knowledge of this whole epoch, which is extremely rich despite often precarious conditions of life and threats to survival. © SM/Qobuz

Alternative & Indie - Released March 23, 2018 | Bella Union

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Jazz - Released March 23, 2018 | Columbia - Legacy

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
When you see the names Miles Davis and John Coltrane on the same poster, you feel a shiver down your spine. This sixth instalment of the trumpet player's Bootleg Series that shiver grows – to put it euphemistically – to ecstasy. The Final Tour concentrates on the final chapter of the collaboration between Miles and Coltrane. On four CDs, it takes in performances recorded as part of their 1960 European tour – their last outing together before the saxophonist's death in July 1967. It includes both concerts at the Paris Olympia of 21 March 1960, the two concerts of 22 March in Stockholm, and of 24 March in Copenhagen, all available for the first time on a format other than quarter-inch tape. These five concerts take place about a year after the release of the masterpiece Kind of Blue, which shook the jazz world to its core. Our protagonists' nuclear creative power threaten the quintet with catastrophe at every turn. With pianist Wynton Kelly, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Jimmy Cobb, Miles and Trane deliver torrential improvisations in which fusion and opposition battle it out. But miraculously, it all holds together. And how! It's the magic of these five concerts: hearing the five giants all at once, and their ability to match each other's pace, and roar in unison. In terms of the repertoire, this box set is a kind of davisian nirvana: it holds all the greatest themes (not always his own) which made the trumpeter's name: ’Round Midnight, Bye Bye Blackbird, On Green Dolphin Street, Walkin’, All Of You, Oleo, So What and All Blues… Finally, The Final Tour finishes on a jaw-dropping interview given by Coltrane to the Swedish DJ Carl-Erik Lindgren. "Do you feel angry?," asks Lindgren. "No, I don't," says Trane. "I was talking to a fellow the other day, and I told him, the reason I play so many sounds, maybe it sounds angry, I'm trying so many things at one time. I haven't sorted them out." Listening to these 1960 concerts, we can only respond: long live confusion! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

World - Released March 16, 2018 | Accords Croisés

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 9, 2018 | Ninja Tune

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
After Kayus Bankole, Graham Hastings, and Alloysious Massaquoi won the Mercury Prize for Dead, they affirmed and reaffirmed that their debut album as Young Fathers was simply a start. A strong follow-up was released only six months after they accepted the award. Between the release dates of their second and third albums, amid other creative pursuits, the trio made urgent contributions to Massive Attack's Ritual Spirit and the soundtrack of T2 Trainspotting. Novelist Irvine Welsh fell so hard for his fellow Edinburgh natives that five songs off their first two albums -- in addition to the made-to-order "God Only Knows" -- were licensed for use in T2. Young Fathers' fascinating evolution continues with third full-length Cocoa Sugar. Tiring of being cast as eccentrics, they set out to make comparatively straightforward material, only to end up with their least classifiable, most unique work yet. "Lord," the prelude to the album, indicated the perhaps unintended results with balefully buzzing avant-gospel. Its vague cluster of pained and plainly spoken lyrics are capped with a seemingly disconnected statement -- "While the government wants to control, her culture will set you free" -- that jumps off the page but is delivered during the fade-out like an afterthought. Other instances of bloody-mindedness can be heard in the near concealment of hooks that require close listening to be heard. They're often deliberately distanced from the battery of contrasting vocal lines, laser FX, and rhythms that churn, batter, and rattle, whether evoking Krautrock bands or African tribes. One aspect that does shoot clear through is the high level of ferocity on display throughout a latter-half stretch that concerns immigration and desperate survivalism. It culminates in "Holy Ghost," which jitters and battle-peacocks like Kendrick Lamar's "King Kunta," a rare obvious point of reference. In a way, the crammed, almost impenetrable layers of sound recall specific phases of Simple Minds (Sons and Fascination/Sister Feelings Call), Associates (Sulk), and maybe even Cocteau Twins (the darker parts of Head Over Heels). Like those Scottish post-punk recordings, Cocoa Sugar mystifies before it gratifies, but it reflects a modern global chaos as much as it does a personal one. ~ Andy Kellman
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French Music - Released March 9, 2018 | vietnam

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Contemporary Jazz - Released March 2, 2018 | ONJ Records

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Concertos - Released February 23, 2018 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama
A fiery partnership. The brainchild of Antoine Tamestit, this recording stems from a long-standing collaboration with his recital partner, Jörg Widmann. Over the course of his new viola concerto, Widmann the composer lets his soloist move freely about the stage, producing fresh orchestral colours within a novel structure: combining humour with earnestness, ferocity with delicacy, Widmann’s unfailing sense of theatre serves to highlight the work’s haunting beauty. Whether embedded in the orchestral fabric or exploring the more intimate pieces on this programme, the violist comes out a hero, hands down! © harmonia mundi
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 12, 2018 | Dead Oceans

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Qobuzissime
As intense as an XS G-string stretched around an XL derrière, Shame isn’t here to joke around. The concentrated post-punk that is at the heart of this debut album from the London quintet stands out through its charisma, violence and originality. Songs Of Praise even sounds like the soundtrack to a really grey, frustrated England. There’s a lot of The Fall, Gang Of Four and Killing Joke in this sonic bundle of nerves, but it never sounds retro or backwards. Like Fat White Family, Ought or even Vietnam, Shame belongs in 2018 and you can definitely hear it! Straight from Brixton, singer Charlie Steen, guitarists Sean Coyle-Smith and Eddie Green, drummer Charlie Forbes and bass player Josh Finerty produce and cage their seemingly visceral irritation on punchy songs (Dust On Trial) that are sometimes poisonous and throbbing (The Lick) but at other points more genial (One Rizla). Here, Shame play brazen, uncompromising and unapologetic rock. Just one listen to Songs Of Praise and your body will come out bruised, yet you will keep asking for more. © MZ/Qobuz