Monday, 24 October 2005

Pop'n sick

I’m so sick! I had a sleepless night with all the new musical motifs I wanted to use for the two movements I have yet to write. I got up to have breakfast at around 7 am, then went back to bed to only wake up again at 3 past in the afternoon after a painful dream involving Britney Spears, her ill meaning entourage involving her in an unintended murder attempt to get rid of her manager who turned out to be a mixture of Fabrice Proof (actually Michèle Atlani’s former tour manager) and Simon! I won’t even try to tell the story… I don’t know what it is supposed to mean. No wonder I’m that ill today!
I was supposed to start working at the theatre from 2, but I guess my body orders me to stay in.
My throat is all swollen and my voice so deep it makes Christopher Lee sounds like a Michael Jackson impersonator! I tried to find some medicine at the pharmacy, but they're quite ineffective. Just useless white pills. 
It should be alright anyway. I have completed a good chunk of work so far. Two days of rest aren’t unwelcome.
The only thing will be to feed myself and regain strength - the portions in Japan are so small! A good thing tomorrow is also a day off.

Saturday, 22 October 2005


This is how I like it. After the stressful times preparing for the concert and finishing the album, when everything had to be done by myself, the working condition in Niigata are the best one could hope for. The only thing I have to do is to concentrate on my music, the rest is provided when needed. Just ask and it is there. A microphone, a recording studio, tea, a bike, a digital piano…
It is really the first time that I work on a project that suits my taste as well as my artistic aspirations. Jo has this rare gift to understand and feel the musical language, hear all the details and use it to create an equally inspiring choreography. The only one who impressed me on that level was Matthew Bourne.
People here don’t make me feel I bother them, so the will to surpass myself is even stronger.
Satoko is Jo’s company manager; Miki is her assistant who speaks wonderful French. Both of them are the sweetest persons and a delight to be with. I enjoy having dinner with them after work. Niigata wouldn’t strike anyone for being the place to go out, but I’m discovering very nice little dens of pure good time. Tonight was a trendy restaurant named Foodelic pleasantly furnished with 70’s flavoured furniture.

Jo and the dancers try to make the company Noism known to the people of Niigata. Today they had to perform a little dance before a football match. The idea was odd, to say the least. It would be beyond me to imagine Angelin Prejlocaj, Maguy Marin or Régine Chopinot doing a cheerleader act for the PSG!!!
Anyway, Jo and the dancers did it today under the rain, dancing for only five minutes in outfits provided by Nike to Kodo music. I have no idea whether the football fans had a clue what was going on…

The Ryutopia Performing Arts Center in Niigata

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Working in Japan

I am in Japan !
Twelve hours on a plane and four more on the train to reach Niigata do not help me realize that I was travelling. Travelling now has become so unnatural. Hours long on your seat, eyes fixed on the screen in front of you, that horrible smell of plane food - whatever they call 'food', the same horrible smell tickling your nostrils…
A bit of sleep, getting out, and then suddenly, everything is different. The body does not understand. As I am reading the Piano Tuner, in which the main character travels to Burma by boat and sees the landscape slowly changing, I’m making this wish that my next trip will be more on a human scale.
And now I’m in Japan! I still expect to bump into some Swan Lake dancers, and meet Simon and Nolico for sushi or tonkatsu!

To think that only a few days ago, I was preparing for a concert which now seems not have not taken place at all. Or maybe it did in another time dimension to which I will reconnect again once I’m back in Paris.


Jo and the dancers have showed me what they’ve been working on for the past month. They haven’t wasted a second. So much done in a month! I was wondering why Jo kept asking me for new music if he wanted me to come to Niigata to collaborate.
Most if it is written now. We shall use parts from W.h.a. as well as Nina’s hidden glass. I was reluctant at first; the music was written for Simon, and we’re going to perform the piece in London next January. But Jo's approach and his use of the music are so different, I am equally happy with both ways. Actually, I couldn’t write an ersatz music. It would sound fake.
Once again, W.h.a. proves to be quite a goldmine in terms of musical ideas. And I can see at last some real dancing to it, and not the conceptual, nihilistic gesticulations of Régine Chopinot.
The next step will be to write for real musicians, and not rely so much on the computer. It was such a joy to sing with Haïm, Jean-Marc, Simon and Jan during the concert. I already start to have some ideas for a new album…
I know I am self sufficient, I enjoy doing things by myself, but I now want to work with other people, instead of remaining in my remote world.
Build more bridges between the two worlds… My own soil needs nurturing.

Satisfaction is on both sides for NINA (that's how Jo has called his piece). Jo apparently feared I might not like his choreography as much I feared he might found my music inadequate.
The dancers are great, and exhale good personality. I’m always full of admiration when I see a dancer at work.
I’ve set myself to come up with the remaining music before next week. Jo wants something for a boys group dancing. Rhythmic, and maybe less intense than the rest.
I’ll try to develop a movement from piano loops.

The music that I intended for the heavy ballerina scene works well. The sound of timpani, long strings, a grotesque and silly choir, frenetic techno rhythm topped with playful strings playing pizzicatto.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Café de la Danse

The concert was a week ago. And already, it hardly seems real  to me. The day and the evening especially, passed by in a blink, I have very no emotional recollection of it, even though I can perfectly remember the facts. It's just that the pressure and the excitement left a big void in the middle.
The feedbacks were good. I sang well, I played well, if one forgets my messing up on Whirlwind. (I suppose no one noticed except Simon.)
The only moment I remember savouring was during Nature boy. I started with a long piano dialogue with Rémy on the contrabass. There's such a good chemistry between us. That comes from all these years performing together with Michèle. I also recall Second breath. I was truly out of breath after my expressionist puppet dance on Goovy and sang at the piano with only cello as accompaniment (we were supposed to have the other Christophe at the harp, but he bailed out at the very last moment as we were relaxing in a café before the soundcheck, the excuse being an unfortunate sudden stomach flu...) 
I remembered Julia's advice: "If you are out of breath, don't try to fight it and finish the phrase at all cost, find another way to sing it". So as I sat at the piano, I decided to take some time to talk a little with the audience and introduce the song.
"Cette chanson s'appelle Second Breath". I said between two breath intakes. "Ca veut dire 'second souffle' en anglais." I paused.
"Cela m'apprendra!!!" I added, still panting heavily.
The audience laughed and I started the song. I used my breathlessness to sing the song in a different manner. I guess it was my best rendition of the song! Finally, the acoustic reprise of Un-me in the end, so enjoyable because I could at last hear the sound of my voice intertwining with the singers'. I started then to wake up and thinking to myself how great it was to perform on stage. And the concert was finished. As if it didn't happen.

Monday, 10 October 2005


Nolico was there! I was serving food to the guests at Karen’s, turned my head and ghhhaaaaa! She was there standing by the door, smiling, l’air de rien.  Of course... "Nolico, how are you?"
Tears came to my eyes. I was overwhelmed by strong waves of joy and emotion (also all the tension and stress accumulated during all the past weeks).
But it feels so good to cry. Or at least shed a tear or two. So that’s what Simon had been plotting all this time in my back. I found it odd that he would suddenly leave in the evening the other night for an ‘appointment’. At midnight?
I was already very touched to physically see Simon’s parents. It’s one thing to know they are going to come, but it is another story when I saw them coming to Karen’s flat;
This evening has been the best I had since a long time. With all the musicians and my parents, Lara, Kristina... Everyone was beaming, and I had all the people I love around me.
Better stop now, if I don’t want to slip on the sentimental side.