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Biografie: Negatif

Benjamin Biolay
“Négatif” CD

Musik ist vergänglich und manchmal saisonal, wie Benjamin Biolays neuestes Album exemplarisch zeigt, an dem er im Sommer zu arbeiten begann und im November endete. Luminös bewegen sich sanft abgestufte Stimmungen durch das Werk. Als Reaktion auf die Tage, die ihn gelegentlich emotional herunterziehen, nennt er es “Négatif” – keine völlig harmlose Wahl (der Titel hat eine kraftvolle Bedeutung), mehr eine stolze Provokation.
“Négatif” ist ein eingelöstes Versprechen: Gesang und Kompositionen sind mehr ‚Benjamin Biolay‘ denn je. Erzählte sein erstes Album noch die märchenhafte Geschichte der Kennedy-Familie, so enthält “Négatif” ebenso viele Geschichten wie Songs. Eine subtile Änderung, aber eine, die den Songschreiber Biolay enthüllt.
“Négatif” enthält vierzehn Songs und ein Instrumentalstück, in denen Benjamin Biolay vieles bietet: simple akustische Balladen, zurückhaltende Duette, die die Zerbrechlichkeit der Liebe hervorbringen, Country Rock auf Dobro- und wunderschönen elektrischen Gitarren, Scores von aufwändigen Filmen der Ciné-Club-Aera, zwei oder drei melancholische Taschen- Symphonien, und nicht zuletzt einige Kleinigkeiten aus Sixties-Riffs um die Musik zu erleichtern. Das Album ist eine Melange aus Tragödien und Popsongs, dem es auch nicht an sorgfältig eingearbeitete Elektronika fehlt, doch niemals ist ein harter Beat zu bemerken.

Benjamin Biolay biography: “Des Faits, des Faits…”

– Worldwide release of the Beatles’ “Red” and “Blue” albums; in France, Serge Gainsbourg’s “Vu de l’Extérieur” is released. The president goes by the name of Pompidou.
– In Villefranche sur Saône, the birth of Benjamin Biolay is announced; the father is a clarinet player when the mood takes him, while the mother cares for three children.

– Worldwide release of the second Clash album, “Give’em Enough Rope”; in France, Gainsbourg’s “Aux Armes Etc” is released. The president goes by the name of Giscard d’Estaing.
– In Villefranche sur Saône, Benjamin Biolay is enrolled at the local music school to learn the violin: “Walking down the street aged 5 or 6, carrying this ugly monophonic contraption in its ridiculous case was just so unglamorous…”

– Worldwide release of “Parade”, Prince’s symphonic soundtrack album; in France, “No Comprendo” by Les Rita Mitsouko is released. The president goes by the name of Mitterrand.
– Back in Villefranche sur Saône, Benjamin Biolay discovers John Lennon, Debussy, Trenet, punk and Igor Stravinsky. He swaps the violin for a tuba, followed by a trombone. While he’s playing in the town brass band, Benjamin puts his first rock band together: HRS (Haute Résolution Sadique), for whom he “wrote” all the “deranged” songs.

– Worldwide release of Dylan’s comeback album, “Oh Mercy”. In France, “Novice” by Alain Bashung is released. Mitterrand is still president.
– In Lyons, Benjamin Biolay enters the music conservatory, where his talents as a trombonist sweep the girls off their feet. He would have preferred it if they’d loved him for his talents as a songwriter and the frontman of the various bands he started, bands which were put to an end by hostile fates. Despite this, Benjamin forges a friendship with a musical colleague who is more experienced and happier than he: Hubert Mounier, aka Cleet Boris, singer with Affaire Louis Trio. They can often be found late at night, deep in conversation over their music, in the shadier bars of the Croix Rousse district.

– Worldwide release of the ever-so-gentle “99.9°F” album from Suzanne Vega, produced by the imaginative Mitchell Froom. The president is still Mitterrand.
– Benjamin Biolay reaches 20 and is itching to move on. He spends less and less time at the conservatory in Lyons, travelling up to Paris or Brussels to hang out in recording studios. He is writing and composing prolifically, for Hubert’s group Affaire Louis Trio, and for a few others, of which output he claims to be less proud. But it doesn’t really matter: he puts in the hours and moves from being “autistic about everything” to being “a self-taught creature curious about everything.”

– Release in France and internationally of a stack of amazing recordings, including CD re-releases of the complete songs of André Bourvil. The president goes by the name of Chirac.
– A chance encounter during his wanderings leads Benjamin Biolay to meet a young singer who is not a bad writer, either: Keren Ann. Together they write and compose her debut album, which Benjamin also produces. Among many listeners who love what they hear is Henri Salvador, who’s on the lookout for new material: they provide him with “Jardin d’Hiver”, which captures an award at the annual Victoires de la Musique (the French version of the Grammies or the Brit awards).

– 7 May 2001 sees the French and international release of the debut album from Benjamin Biolay. It’s entitled “Rose Kennedy”, as in President Kennedy’s mum – logically enough, as it consists of 13 songs recounting the story of a unique family and a universal tragedy. It’s a record totally devoid of artifice and bombast; it’s merely very beautiful and very moving, a rare event and one that will stand the test of time, as will its writer-composer-performer.

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