Charlotte Gainsbourg – Stage Wisper – CD Experience

Borrowed a CD from the Library.. It’s a rather old CD.  Old liner notes, played often.  Sight unseen.  Let’s see what it sounds like.

Terrible Angels:

Dreamlike the sounds of the buzzing electronica to a march.  Just looking for a protest of song.  Lyrical colors of protest change.

Sounds a bit like Icehouse, don’t know why, probably the 2/4 beat with an offbeat guitar against a rather sweet voice on the Paradisco track.

All the rain:

how very appropriate after all the rain we’ve had here on the East Coast of Australia in the past weekend.  Try to stay.. what ? anyway sounds like 2 bars one of 2/4 then a 4/4 follow up bar, repeated, again Charlotte seems to like having the voice against the basic drum beat, once again with synth in the background.  Simple and colorful, nice like the way if the rain is soft it could cover you, providing not too cold, heavy or torrential.  Somehow I think thats not the way it happens here in Australia these days.  We had about 210 millimeters of rain in one day filling up the Otto recycling bin.

White Telephone:

Well its a nice calm introduction in a slow trudge lazy style of thinking.  Waiting as usual for someone to talk on the phone.  Just like what happens when the robots call you up for telemarketing efficiency, though I doubt that is what Charlotte has in mind.  More actively, how do you feel ? Feel when someone actually never picks up the phone.  Like they somehow don’t understand or don’t actually want to talk to you right now. Gone just like a ghost. Just in the dark end of the empty phone right there.  These days you don’t need a white telephone, although that is somewhat evocative of telephones in hotels.  White phones in white rooms with no real pictures on the walls.

Anna :

Nice name – a bit quicker, happier with Anna of course.  This one has a slightly difficult to follow chorus.  I’ve often wondered re – chorus lines – in songs.  Yes, I believe the strongest chorus or refrains are those that state and re-state the conclusion of the argument. Examples of proof abound in the actual verses, then the chorus comes through sung by multitudes of disciples who actually agree.  Still – not too sure what Anna really thinks.

Got to let go :

Like the idea of the lyrical argument in this one.  It’s about letting go… knowing when to give up.  Of course my own feeling about giving up is … never give up… but we know that is pretty unrealistic… love is a wrecking ball, and I guess if it hits the solid edifice of life you have around you… bits and pieces are going to crash down around you after all.  Go on … do it !!!!  No … no… not the gun… you don’t need any revolver to help let go.  Not sure about this song really .. the argument fails… oh well… never mind.

Out of Touch :

Sounds like a letter… dear friend… plaintive sounds of being out of touch… do you call, text, skype, or write a letter.. what kind of paper would you use.  Lined and fat with thick paper from wallmart.  Sensitive thin paper, the kind you might use sitting on a yacht somewhere ? O I think the paper is important, since when getting back in touch it’s the paper that the reader feels the writer sent.  Yes the paper is what is about.  Could though you send a blank piece ? Probably not, the reader’s mind would get interested, then curious [where is the missing piece] — being out of touch – – got to start somewhere.  Who are you out of touch with ? try getting a nice piece of paper and write something on it — perhaps print an email out and send it… since you may have forgotten how to write neatly.


Interesting analogy where we have a nice boat sailing into memory .. delivering the body for memory — the body is memory –.. I like it in a kind of unknowing way.  So why give yourself to anyone here… why keep replacing relationships with anyone — will anyone at all really do ? Could you really be anyone ?  Not too sure about that..

IRM (Live) :

Love the synth getting a real 3D feel to the song.  Like musical poetry, scans a bit like RAP way before it’s time.  Like the electronic semi-dance feel to it.  The drummer gets a bit carried away with the mechanical torture of the rythm and tries hard to break out momentarily, but the synth cuts him off in the end. I guess a sojourn in an MRI machine is noisy but brief.

Set yourself on fire [live] :

So polite Charlotte – I don’t think these days people would be so polite in the way they ask to set on fire.. Still I like this one.  Sounds kind of progressive, leaning into a reasonable synth backing with some nice rythms.  Kind of pre-punk – anything would be about setting oneself on fire live.  I think bands should try hard to avoid singing about matches and fire and stuff, particularly after the disastrous fires we have recently in nightclubs.  Nightclubs on the other hand really need to think about having emergency exits that automatically OPEN when a fire breaks out. [Re Kiss night club fire in Santa Maria Brazil Jan 2013].


Jamais is French for NEVER – and I love the word Jamais.  I nice 8/8 rythm with the 3rd/7th beat in charge of a kind of question statement. A dialog about a story.  What’s that interesting synth solo in the middle.  What I like is the music is very uncomplicated and allows you to think over other things while you listen.

O Charlotte, your tracks got me wondering about a few things.  Travel, music, wondering, memory, identity. Childlike simplicity.  I think all in all, the sparse music is just enough to highlight a beautiful voice with interesting stuff to think about.

Thanks for a pleasant half an hour Charlotte. Will listen again on big speakers soon !.

One of us on a Tricycle

Yes, in the early days of my life, I recall we got a tricycle for a  birthday or Christmas present.  It was a present that we often had to share, all three of us.  We actually didn’t mind sharing presents, it saved our parents looking stupid for buying 3 identical, or different coloured presents, and it also saved them the hassle of fights due to buying different presents, which would always be compared in fine detail to determine exactly who of the three of us were being favoured.

The metal tricycle we got, was pretty ok.  Usually only two of the three of us wanted to play with it at anyone time, and with three, you could have 3 variations on a theme of two people on a bike at anyone time.  The other resting in between turns and laughing like hell about how awkward the other two would look.

But pure serenity, when the other two were off somewhere, and you could take full command of the tricycle for yourself, your own bell, your own destination, and your own time.  Of course, this led to higher risk elements, and no one holding you back with criticism.  You could wander off into the bush, on a bumpy bush track and try not to crash too hard, with a bell to compete with the galahs hanging around in the trees, and the flies, and lizards wandering in and out of view. The three wheels were ok going slow, but instability increased with speed, resulting inevitably in cuts and scrapes and blood and slight bruising, which of course you would pretend did not happen.

Eventually tired and most probably sore, you would just sit, and listen, leaning on the handlebars, waiting to get your breath back, not talking, just listening, and soon more wondering at the bush around you.   The quiet of the bush on entry would start to give way to more and more sound as the pain gave way, as though your hearing were amplified.  Each chirp or rush of wings, or screech of a cockatoo would impinge on the waiting mind, and become more random, more a total soundscape.

After a while you realised, that the chaos of the Australian bush is not something the eye fathom’s real well.  However the ear is perfect.  Stereo listening with eyes closed gives you the panorama of life and what is happening.  If the wind shifts, so does the sound.  If the light shifts, so does the sound.  You wonder what happens when it all goes silent, and you open your eyes, and blink, looking around to see who or what happened, and even what will happen, as though the bush life can sense something coming, like an earth tremor, or like a storm, or some change in the weather

But you would be sitting on the bike, as if to own it, and to prove to the natural world around that you, man, machine, were one, and ready to hike off back home at any point in time. Ready to return to the world of compromise and cooperation and sharing and scrapes.

Close your eyes. Longer than a minute, and listen to what is happening around you. It will inform you of a reality far beyond sight, which is much better suited for other things, like riding a tricycle.

Note:  The sculpture featured in this post is by Stephen Gregory.  If you happen to be near Goodwood UK you can visit the Cass sculpture park and talk to the all hearing tricycle rider sitting there, who itself is trying to fathom by listening, just what is going on.