Deux Filles

607721“The short, mysterious career of the aptly named female French duo Deux Filles is bookended by tragedy. Gemini Forque and Claudine Coule met as teenagers at a holiday pilgrimage to Lourdes, during which Coule’s mother died of an incurable lung disease and Forque’s mother was killed and her father paralyzed in a grisly auto accident. The two teens bonded over their shared grief and worked through their bereavement with music. However, after recording two critically acclaimed albums and playing throughout Europe and North America, Forque and Coule disappeared without a trace in North Africa in 1984 during a trip to visit Algiers, where Forque had lived from birth to the age of five. Theories from abduction and murder to a planned disappearance to spontaneous human combustion have been floated, but in the ensuing years, not a trace of the duo has turned up except for a mysterious letter purportedly written by Coule claiming that the pair journeyed to India on a spiritual quest, only to meet with further hardships. Indeed, the short and terribly unhappy lives of Forque and Coule are at the root of the small but fervent cult following the mysterious duo have gained since their disappearance, not least because the placid, largely instrumental music on the duo’s albums betrays no hint of the sorrow that framed their personal lives.

This would be a terribly sad story if a word of it were true. In reality, Deux Filles were Simon Fisher Turner, former child star/teen idol and future soundtrack composer, and writer/producer Colin Lloyd Tucker. Turner and Tucker left an early incarnation of The The in 1981 to pursue another musical direction. Turner claims that the idea of Deux Filles came to him in a dream, and he and Tucker strictly maintained the fiction throughout the duo’s career. Not only did they pose in drag for the album covers, the duo once even played live without the audience realizing that the tragic French girls on-stage were actually a pair of blokes from south London having a giggle. Deux Filles released two albums through Turner and Tucker’s Papier Mache label, 1982’s Silence & Wisdom and 1983’s Double Happiness. After that, the duo scrapped the Deux Filles concept and released two ambient pop albums as Jeremy’s Secret.”

The two DF-albums are re-released. Mostly instrumental, but there’s one intriguing French track:
Deux Filles – L’Intrigue


indexDaprinski could well be a FillesSourires-regular. Benoit d’Aprigny (his real name) is from Saint-Lo and loves ‘ces femmes qui murmurent à votre oreille et vous touchent en plein coeur’, like Anna Karina and Jeanne Moreau. Music-wise, he’s very much inspired by Michel Colombier, Philippe Sarde, J-C Vannier and of course Serge Gainsbourg. Last year, an instrumental track appeared on a compilation (Spotify-link) which sounds like an unfolding of a masterplan, a revelation of a modus operandi. On the EP, Benoit sings, and gets help from quite a few of those ‘femmes qui murmerent à votre oreille’: Loane, Chat, Elsa Motin and one ‘Emilie M’. She’s the gal who backs him up on the plushy Des X, pun very much intended. More here.

Daprinski & Emilie M – Des X

Swinging Mademoiselle III

Ten years after the release of $T2eC16N,!y0E9s2S5t07BQ0L04pm9!~~60_58Volume II, here’s Volume III of the most heralded French swinging 60s compilation series, Swinging Mademoiselle. Vinyl-only, just likte the other volumes. This volume contains a lot of Belgian filles. I bought it yesterday at this wonderful record shop in Groningen. A word of warning: it was a sealed copy yet it did not contain the insert that is promised on the sleeve. Not the record shop’s fault, it’s something you best check out before checking out.
Volume III is again compiled by ‘Sasha Monett’, who also put together this French volume of Girls in the Garage (there’s another GitG-comp dedicated to French filles, #10). Now, bear with me here. There are two other volumes of Swinging Mademoiselle (I, II). They’re out of print, sellers on sites like Discogs ask around 50 euros for used vinyl-copies. And there are two volumes of Swinging MademoiselleS, released on CD by the Silva Screen label (I, II) – easy to find, not that expensive (about 10 euros). Purists try’n find the vinyl-versions (check out Spiked Candy’s comment below, here), I’m okay with the CDs as well.

OK so far? Clothilde is on all those compilations. Now, Paris-based Born Bad Records released a compilation of Clothilde tracks called ‘French Swinging Mademoiselle’. So far, it’s a digital release only (see HERE), I don’t know if the label will do either a CD or vinyl version. On the Bandcamp-page it says ‘March 1’ as release date, that might be a sign there’s more coming up.

By the way, this is THE winning track on SM vol III: Patricia – Avez-vous déjà-vu? (youtube link). It’s orchestrated by Jean-Claude Vannier!

Under the Radar (2): La Gale

la-gale-siteShe’s part Libanese, part Swiss. She raps, in French, over fierce electronic music. Yes, I know, we usually post about hoarse girls, but this is really good too. La Gale, also an actress, incorporates all kinds of influences in her music. In Frontières, imho the strongest track on her first album, you can hear the Middle-Eastern atmosphere. But also the tough, laidback-yet-agressive rapstyle of the great French hiphopcrews, like NTM. Women in hiphop are rare, girls with their own voice are hard to find. Granted, it’s not revolutionary what La Gale’s doing. But it has style, quality and, well, I dunno, I guess it’s nice to hear a fille spit rhymes for a while instead of whispering sexy in my ears. Try it.

Under the Radar (1) : Mathilde Forget

indexThis month, we’ll feature French filles who slipped under our radar, that didn’t get the attention they deserve. Mathilde Forget is one of them. The Parisienne released an EP last September, with pretty, electronica-infused and piano-driven songs, sung with an exquisite, fragile voice. Complainte d’anges is the strongest song on her 4-track EP, she’s not breaking new grounds but the fusion of electronics and strings is tasteful, balanced and, oh, that voice. Charlotte Gainsbourg is an easy made reference. Not a big fan of the English track. And then there’s this one too.

Mathilde Forget – Complainte d’anges