sat 20/07/2024

CD: Daphné – Bleu Venise | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Daphné – Bleu Venise

CD: Daphné – Bleu Venise

Classy modern chanson that's for more than France alone

Chanson meets Ravel: Daphné’s 'Bleu Venise'

Bleu Venise might be recorded in LA with figures familiar from Joni Mitchell, Madeleine Peyroux and Melody Gardot albums, but this French music takes from the Anglophone world without sacrificing its identity. Daphné’s Bleu Venise is modern, literate, chanson-based pop.

Daphné’s break came in 2003 after she met Benjamin Biolay, France’s all-purpose and ubiquitous musical mover and shaker. He also kick-started the career of Keren Ann. But Biolay casts no shadows; his collaborators and protégés move on and flourish without him. Unlike Keren Ann and despite previous collaborations with The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon, Daphné’s focus is on the French audience. As far as the studio is concerned though, her net is cast wide - Bleu Venise was recorded with producer Larry Klein, who has also worked with Mitchell, Peyroux and Gardot. The string arrangements are by Vince Mendoza, another Joni stalwart.

Following 2005’s L'Emeraude and 2007’s Carmin, Bleu Venise has another colour-coded title: green, crimson and now blue. Echoing L'Emeraude, where two songs were sung in Italian, Venice has inspired the album’s mood. Thematic consistencies aside, Daphné’s first American adventure hasn’t turned her into Joni Mitchell, even though two tracks are sung in English. She writes with a melodic arc that’s recognisably Gallic. Mendoza’s sensitive orchestration is restrained, never swamping Daphné’s precise, intimate voice. A highlight is the gently spaghetti-westernish “L’homme à la peau musicale”, where whimsy and observation meet. Reflections like “Portrait d’un vertige” merge chanson with a vision that seems informed by Ravel. Indeed, the album’s orchestral overture evokes Daphnis and Chloé. “Mélodie à personne” could have graced the soundtrack of Un Homme et une Femme. Yet still, Bleu Venise is modern pop. Daphné might be aiming at the Francophone world, but it’d be just fine if this delightful album was heard beyond France.

Visit Kieron Tyler’s blog

Watch the video for 'L’homme à la peau musicale', the first single from Daphné’s Bleu Venise

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