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 !.


Innovation 7 – Miles on Fire as Engineering

It was April 1988.  I was working at Costec in Sydney at the time, a company then designing and making custom simulators for the power industry focussed on the idea of it’s two founders. Each one different, using currently available technology, fit for purpose – to train operators, and difficult to create, hours of work, based on a simple idea.  Wonderful time that was.

My first inkling that there was that kind of special thing was when I went to a concert at the time, It was Miles Davis playing in Sydney.  One of two concerts I think.  I had heard some of his music before, but not much.  I had even bought some sheet music of his and tried to play it. Didn’t understand it.

At that concert, I did experience Miles Davis, and got to know him through his music and ways around the stage. The way he kind of orchestrated on the fly, getting through his ideas in such an innovative way, each time he played a number. Here was one of the most intense people I ever saw or met. Someone who seemed to have an idea, and then do his best to express it through the entire composition, components of which were his trumpet playing, others were his sidemen. Music has a quality that is free of language.  Music speaks straight into the mind of the listeners, his kind of music devoid of lyrics and words, it goes straight in, if you let it. I did.

So it has taken  about 25 years for me to figure out what it was I heard.  What I heard was the physical expression of a burning idea through music. I am sure that non of it that I heard would be repeatable, without the man at the centre of it.  Since it was not just about the music, it was also his attitude, stance, control, and direction of that idea, his total focus on it, in order to have his musicians play it the way he saw it.  There I saw a match and its consequent fire of an idea, a physical thing.  It is here now, and tomorrow it will be there as well, but it may be modified, discarded for a better one, developed. I could be better tomorrow, it could be irrelevant, but for sure, there is a strong will about that idea that has to get out.

Since that time, I have come to understand about innovation in a similar abstraction.

Take an idea and then think about how you would tell someone about that idea musically.  Would it be noise, a lone trumpet song, and orchestra playing, a symphonic movement, which one, first or last ? How solid is the idea.  If someone kicks it, will it last, will it just blow away in the wind ? How permanent is the idea or its expression.  How quick does it have to be made ? How long does it have to last ? What color is it ? How much of that color is in fashion ? When will it go out of fashion ?……

Would you care ?

Innovations are true to the idea, its clarity and purpose. They reflect the idea so that others can see it.  The innovation itself has a timeframe, a purpose and a reason. So engineering too, it full of innovation and surprise, resulting in physical things others can see and appreciate, for what they are worth, their repeatability, and value, and for how long they are around.