Putumayo turn their attention to the emerging 'Nouvelle Scene' in this 12 track...
Chris Moss 2002
For decades French music was an oxymoron for British listeners. Most people had fond memories of Georges Brassens and Serge Gainsbourg, but le pop musique tended to be derivative or just dire. In the so-called Nouvelle Scene which this compilation celebrates, the tradition of chanson meets up with more contemporary strains. Along the way, many songs pay brief tribute to local stars Françoise Hardy and Vanessa Paradis, and also to Brazilian tropicalia. Coralie Clément sings a song that sounds a bit like a French bossa but gets its laid-back textures from Air.
The most beautiful track, "Quelqu'un Ma Dit" by Carla Bruni, has the tenderness and intensity of one of Jacques Brel's lonely-man-in-café songs, made more powerful by the delicate country guitar and quiet strings. What is impressive is that French artists just get on with their music, ignoring global gimmicks and cherishing their idiosyncrasies. The ineffable spirit of Hulot; an empty beach, a sultry breeze, pale greys and village people strolling breathes through this wonderful 12-songprimer on an emerging scene. But it isn't a Paris album at all; if anything it's provincial and almost pastoral, by which I mean mellow, intelligent and unaffected.