Noir Désir (2)

Guestpost by Roger Grund on Noir Désir, in remembrance of one of France’s greatest bands:

French Rock sometimes suffers from lack of identity, however most definitely not in the case of Noir Désir. Loosely fit and jazzy, Noir Désir’s music evolved in the sun-scorched afternoons of the south of France rather than in the cold and damp mornings of Northern Europe: A ton étoile is the Rock-equivalent of Van Gogh’s sunflower paintings.

I first heard A ton étoile by Noir Désir whilst in transit in the Sahara in the nineties, when a southernly wind carried a weak televised TV5 signal from across the Mediterranean. What stood out on the decripit TV in the caravanserai was a loud and broadly brushed guitar sound that has remained an enigma ever since. Carried by the unique guitar phrasing, there is the emotional voice of the singer, whose name is Bertrand Cantat, about whom we learned much more later on.

Sous la lumière en plein
et dans l’ombre en silence
si tu cherches un abri
Dis toi qu’il n’est pas loin et qu’on y brille
A ton étoile

Noir Désir – A ton étoile
Noir Désir – A ton étoile (Yann TIersen remix)

Noir Desir

Noir Désir called it quits, due to “emotional, human and musical differences”. You could see this coming from a few miles, after leadsinger Bertrand Cantat was released from prison after his conviction for murder. Heated debates in France after Cantat and his compadres left off where they were forced to quit six years before. Which leaves us with a lot of very good albums, Des visages des figures being the most succesful outside of France. There are quite a few ND-covers (this one, f.i.), but I’m posting only the Le vent nous portera-versions here, mostly done by girls. Sophie Hunger is from Switzerland, Victoria Vox from the US, Regina Lund was born in Finland but lives in Sweden, Les Charbonniers de L’Enfer are Canadian. The remix of Le vent… was made by Rubber Room.

Noir Désir – Le vent nous portera
Noir Désir – Le vent nous portera (remix)
Sophie Hunger – Le vent nous portera
Les Charbonniers de l’enfer – Le vent nous portera
Regina Lund – Le vent nous portera
Victoria Vox – Le vent nous portera

>Sophie Hunger

Swiss beauty Sophie Hunger was featured on this blog before with a live version of of Noir Desir’s classic Le vent nous portera (see here), lucky for all of us she included it on her just-released new (3rd) album 1983. It’s the only French song on that album (named after the year she was born), but boy, what a beauty. See original (with help from Manu Chao) here. See a beautiful video of Sophie singing the song here.

Sophie Hunger – Le vent nous portera