Bashung, Kate Bush: some rock readings to slip under the tree

“In the studio with Bashung”, “Paris Punkabilly 76-80” and “The Secret Story of Kate Bush” excel in the art of rock transmission.

Rock is just a pile of mud, a simple din, it’s there today, it will be gone tomorrow. The only thing that can trip you up is to start telling yourself that if music is this trivial, imagine how much more trivial what you do is”, wrote Lester Bangs in his famous How to become a rock critica kind of memorandum taking Oscar Wilde from behind, for the use of the youth of the seventies stoned with glue.

Thank God, a handful of stubborn people, determined to give this minor genre that is rock writing its letters of nobility, are still rampant, and with a certain panache. The proof in three books released in recent months which, each in a different approach (the investigation, the disenchanted autobiography and the surreal biography), excel in the art of transmission. A Santa’s list of choices.

In the studio with Bashung by Christophe Conte (Seghers)

A few of us say it to each other in the half-light of the concert halls, leaning on the bar: the book by Christophe Conte (a former Inrocks) on the recording of Alain Bashung’s albums is an unequaled sum for the time being. To believe that the journalist has spent his life sitting on the old leather benches of the studios frequented by the singer, Rockfield Studios, in Wales, for Pizza (1981), via Brussels, Studio Miraval (in the Var) or Memphis (Ardent Studios, where Big Star used to record his records).

Far from being in the collection of anecdotes, Conte is harnessed to a gigantic work of reconstitution, with his gallery of characters that one would believe escaped from a comic strip of Luz (witnesses and protagonists whose words the author reports, sometimes contradictory) and this staggering ability to tell as if you were there the context, the mood and the chaos of the creative process of one of the most thrilling works of French rock.

In the studio with Bashung by Christophe Conte (Seghers), 216 p., €29.

Paris Punkabilly 76-80 by Vincent Ostria (Marest editor)

Returning to the recording of Pizza and the context of the early 1980s, Conte lets go: “Audiences love the rockabilly and retro looks of the Stray Cats as much as the pop under amphetamine ska of Madness and the Specials. A group like The B-52’s is a perfect synthesis of this era, both retro and futuristic.

Positioned at the forefront of this trend, we find Vincent Ostria, film critic and filmmaker (he also collaborated with Inrocks), which delivered a few months ago the story of a punk youth, spent criss-crossing the icy Paris of the late seventies with his skinny Buddy Holly look. At the antipodes of the flashy fantasy of the Palace years, the journalist recounts boredom, wandering and his place on the margins of the margins, in an era that he seems to observe from afar, with a formidable sense of autoclash, then that it will have been of all the hops. We come across Pacadis, Kraftwerk, Elli and Jacno, pinned against the backdrop of memory, in a great book of total demystification (where it will also be a question of lost love).

Paris Punkabilly 76-80 by Vincent Ostria (Marest publisher), 216 p., €19.

The Secret History of Kate Bush (& the strange art of pop) by Fred Vermorel (The Gospel)

Second half of 2022, the zine of all counter-cultures Le Gospel launched itself into the deep end of publishing, with a first original book by Alice Butterlin, The Dead Hours. Devoured in a breakfast, the grimoire of the author seemed to establish the cartography of her psyche (and of her body crossed by some ancestral evils) at the same time as she tried to situate herself in the world by clinging to pop objects floating in the air (from Deerhunter to Elliott Smith to Broadcast).

In the process, the Bordeaux publisher published a completely different story, a translation this time, which has in common with the previous work to go in search of a cosmogony apart: that of Kate Bush. For the first time translated into French, forty years after its first publication in the United Kingdom, Fred Vermorel’s book is a mystical, surreal and strewn with pitfalls investigation, following in the footsteps of the singer-songwriter, the 18th century until the possibility of its existence in the middle of the 20th century.

The Secret History of Kate Bush (& the strange art of pop) by Fred Vermorel (The Gospel), 160 p., €20.

Source : BBN NEWS

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