Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bossa Super Nova review by Ned Ragget

Bossa Super Nova was described upon release as being the last Antena album of three, which given the two decade plus break between the first two might be seen as a bit of a career acceleration. But Isabelle Antena has always been happily content to follow her muse either on her own or in group mode, and Bossa Super Nova -- her second collaboration with her daughter Penelope under the group name, following 2006's Toujours du Soleil -- is an easygoing treat of a release, another instance of the understated Brazilian pop grooves that Antena has always openly loved coming to the fore in her own inspired way. With further collaborative help musically and lyrically from a childhood friend of Isabelle's, Jean-Christophe Clair, Antena approached Bossa Super Nova in much the same way that Depeche Mode did with the previous year's Sounds of the Universe, intentionally taking technology and equipment from the band's earliest days to reexplore them for a different songwriting and arrangement approach. So instead of the heavily shrouded in reverb stylings of Camino del Sol, the early drum machines and keyboards here stand out much more crisply, while Antena's vocals similarly are of her as the accomplished and experienced performer rather than the young enthusiast out to see what might work. Songs like the insect-buzz tinged "Happy in My Garden" aim for the sweetly dreamy while "Straight to the Point," a giddy celebration of Serge Gainsbourg, becomes a frug-worthy acid rock confection suitable for the French legend in his late sixties days. The combination of science fiction bliss ("Amour Cosmique," "Une Francaise sur Mars") and reflective nostalgia ("Hollywood is Dead," a lament for lost stars of the past) makes for another excellent Antena album, once more. Ned Raggett.

Bossa Super Nova-record collector review

Antena - Bossa Super Nova

Med-tempo bossa

Antena began broadcasting in 1982 with a gender-switched re-tooling of the classic The Girl From Ipanema, with synth minimalist John Foxx behind the controls. Their debut LP, Camino De Sol, followed in 1983. As the years passed, Antena delivered a number of singles and albums, chortling out a mix of electronic dalliance and exotic sounds.

If you’re a fan of Stereolab, Saint Etienne and Louis Phillipe – or even Stock Hausen & Walkman – you’ll know what this French act sound like. This third album can leave you cold at first, which, considering that this type of music is all about mood, is probably something of an indictment. Repeat plays, however, will allow the simple melodies and refrains to get under your skin like a warm Mediterranean sun. While the references to Pink Floyd and Atom Heart Mother (vocal, not musical) are a bit too contrived, Straight To The Point is a wonderful tribute (vocal and musical) to Serge Gainsbourg; it’s one to download. The rest of the album motors along just beneath the speed limit, though Leaving Las Vegas and Amour Cosmique get the heart racing.

LTMCD | 2554

Reviewed by Ian Shirley

Friday, March 19, 2010

Bossa Super Nova released on LTM (april 2010)

ltmcd 2554

Antena | Bossa Super Nova

For this final volume in the Antena trilogy, Isabelle and Penelope decided to rummage through their attic and dust off some classic Roland equipment: the TR-808 drum machine, TB-303 Bass Line sequencer and SH09 monophonic synth, all of which were used on the classic debut Antena album Camino Del Sol in 1982. Adding to this retro theme, old schoolfriend Jean Christophe Clair was invited to contribute lyrics and ideas in remembrance of times past. Isabelle Antena then arranged and produced the songs with her husband Denis Moulin at their studio in the south of France, with Marco De Meersman adding extra percussion. Bossa Super Nova was born.
Stand-out tracks include Une Francaise Sur Mars (bossa nova with cosmic sounds), Straight To The Point (an homage to Serge Gainsbourg and Pierre Henri), and Under Your Closed Eyelids (featured in season two of TV show The Boondocks).

| tracklist
01 Une Francaise Sur Mars
02 For No Reason
03 Happy In My Garden
04 Le Grenier d'Isabelle
05 Straight To The Point
06 Leave Las Vegas
07 Amour Cosmique
08 A Night Of Infinity
09 Under Your Closed Eyelids
10 Hollywood Is Dead
11 Cine-Club
12 Little Boxes

Copies are available by mailorder from LTM for the price of £ 10,- per copy.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bossa Super Nova

Bossa Nova Songs - Antena Album Review

OK, quick introduction time. Antena formed in the early 80s in Paris, recorded a handful of samba-scented pop vignettes for chic Belgian label, Les Disques Du Crepuscule, before key member Isabelle went solo and delivered a million sales from a dozen albums across the globe. She is worshipped in Japan, treated like royalty and generally given the freedom of any given city over there. In her home country she might be asked the time of day and in Britain, don't even go there - the lady is unheard of. Travesty.

Think back to Bebel Gilberto's short reign of world-music supremacy - 'Tanto Tempo' and all that. Antena have never had a sniff nor even an accolade about their timeless music and I still fail to see why, after several French-English albums, she or they never stamped their trainer-print onto the head of British music. Will this new and rather exquisite set of chilled-out electro-samba carols do them justice? What do you think?

'Bossa Nova Songs' is an experiment of sorts - the result of several hours of loft-rummages, heady rehearsals with analogue equipment and a deliberate nod to their debut album, 'Camino Del Sol'. It's rather tasty.

It would be churlish to single out one highlight here because there are so many. The opening foray into sand-swept lazy-days on a distant shore, 'Une Francaise Sur Mars', is a hip-wiggling triumph and the epitomy of Isabelle Antena's output and attitude. 'For No Reason' does the same, replete with cheeky little cosmic sparkles and Gallic twinkles that remind me of 'Sur Ton Ile', a single from the early 90s that ranks as one of her finest efforts. 'Happy In My Garden' is a highlight - a bossa-nova homage to the heights of summer only previously heard on 'Summer's Cauldron by XTC.

There is no low-point throughout the entire set, although 'Leaving Las Vegas' and 'A Night Of Infinity' breeze past gently, perhaps begging for the intervention of previous collaborators Thievery Corporation. Still good of course. But, as a whole, 'Bossa Nova Songs' welcomes the attentions of those who adore French-language subtlety, samba-fused trickery and summer-time hip-swinging anthems and who want something more than just 'bash-bash-bash' 'I-love-you' stereotypical pop-songs. 12 really worthy tracks out of 12 - when did you last get that from an album? Frankly, Lady GaGa can go sit on a sharpened-spike.

Elsewhere, 'Under Your Closed Eyelids' was used in the successful US TV series, 'Boondocks' while the short and sweet cover of the 60s urban-folk hit, 'Little Boxes' concludes the album with little in the way of fireworks, yet plenty in the way of staunch resilience and a latin-flavoured middle-finger to the world. Her best since 'Tous Mes Caprices'. Win. Go and buy it.
Paul Pledger

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Interview ; Camino del sol by Jaime Sin

I spoke to Isabelle Antena via email in June of 2008. Here is the unpublished interview.

I first heard Antena's "Achilles" several years ago on (the now defunct) Tigersushi radio. It had such a strange and alluring sound, and I remember thinking "how is this song lush and minimal at the same time?". I immediately sought out more music and more information as to who Antena was. I found that Numero Group had re-issued the album Camino Del Sol with additional music, and I also managed to acquire the used vinyl for the original 5 song release of Camino, as well as a 7" of the song "Be Pop" (those were fruitful digging times). I was fascinated by the way it all sounded, playing upon many contradictions but working perfectly to my ears. It embraced extremes of cold and warm, at times thematically dark but presented in a joyous and sensual manner ... beautiful but dissonant, disconnected but intimate, romantic but chilly, etc ...... In much the same way I feel when I listen to the Raincoats, Antena's music is perfect in its imperfections, and there is a vein of youthful vitality and wonky innocence, and a genuine spirit of independence that runs through it.

Jaime Sin: I would like to ask you a little bit about what was going on at the time Antena got its start. It was the early 80's, it was Belgium, you were 3 kids making music. Can you tell me a little bit about what was happening around you at the time? Who were your inspirations and did you feel you had any contemporaries?

Isabelle Antena: We were from Paris Actually and I was playing guitar on the underground.
I had no connections with the music business but I had been putting bands together with friends as early as 8 years old:)
So, it was natural to ask my best friend and my boy friend if they wanted to help me be a band and record some songs.
With a very basic tape recorder, we recorded 8 songs and then decided to send them to record companies that had put their contact on the back of the LPs we had.
That's how we sent our "demo" tape to Crepuscule, Ralf records and ZE records.
We were listening to John Foxx 's Metamatic, Tuxedo Moon, The Residents, B 52's, as well as the old jazz records coming from my parents, Miles, Dizzy, Coltrane and of course my old time favourite Getz/Gilberto that my mother used to sing to me at bed time.
I have always been writing songs and so at that time, we never thought about the style we were going to have or if we were going to be part of a movement.
We had no drummer but a TR808, so that was the sound of our drummer.
We had no piano but a little electric pianotone, which gave also a particular sound.
When John Foxx said he wanted to produced 2 titles, in his studio The Garden, it was the first time we were going to a recording studio. This was with Gareth Jones and he teached me a lot about recording, production and sounds. I will thank him eternally for that.
Our contemporaries were young people like us, musically inexperimented but who wanted to express themself through the music. This was Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, Durriti Column, Paul Haig and Tuxedo Moon.
We toured with those guys and had a great time, although doing a different style of music, we were accepted by them. We were French so it was natural that we would do "Chanson".
But Blaine Reininger played strings on our songs and I did vocals for Winston Tong or Paul Haig.It was a nice time of exchange. While recording in London, we even stayed at Genesis Porridge 's house (Throbbing Gristle) .... It was like a family business ....

JS: Can you tell me about where your lyrical inspirations came from? As I mentioned, "Achilles" was the first song I had heard by you, and I was intrigued by the one very simple lyric, "Achilles is an only child" repeated numerous times. To me, it suggested an interest in another side of the myth.

I also find "On the Boat" really interesting. It's such an upbeat song, yet the lyrics seem to be about alienation and a certain disconnection from your surroundings.

My French isn't great but there are a few songs pertaining to the tropics, holidays, as well as the cover of "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" which is from a Jacques Demy film ... please feel free to talk about any of these songs as well as anything else you'd like to mention.

IA: The correct lyrics for Achilles are: Achilles is an unwanted child. Achilles is your son , recognize it...

I was so young , and so influenced by the New Yorkers like Lou Reed, Nico, Television where culture was to be spread (even the few we had) as jam on the bread. This was probably the "Warhol syndrom" :)
Actually you understood what was to understand in Achilles, the son of a goddess and a mortal man but the woman sight of it. (you know, woman's lib :)
The funny thing about that, is that, when I got first pregnant and that the "father" wasn't going to help me with the child, I called my son Achilles ...he's now a strong young man of 21 years old :)
There's always something desperate in Antena's lyrics
like Achilles is an unwanted child
On the boat is about taking drugs and see the boat sicking
Seaside weekend is a (pretty weird) love triangle
Camino del sol : is an enumeration of a holiday catalogue, but again, for desperate vacation
"Camino del sol, Hotel, Palm Beach, Air Florida
Station balneaire, Climat tropical etc ..."
This was the effect of the "Cold wave" associate to our willing to do samba, Bossa Nova type of music, which is usually associated with dance, sun and happiness.

(images via The Crepuscule and Factory Pages)


I noticed this in the runout groove of the 1982 pressing of Camino Del Sol. Still true?

IA: whoooaaa you noticed this when I forgot about it.
It was just to have fun to print "secret" messages on vinyl.
Never thought I would have to speak about it 28 years after ...
Today is my 48th birthday and really, sex is pleasure and I perfectly managed to keep the romance going with the same man for the past 16 years. So things that can be hard when you're 20 actually get better with experiences :))

JS: You talk about how young you were when Antena was formed ... and it really shows! You managed to capture a feeling on those records that is so vital and uncontrived. To me, that sort of effervescence and honesty makes the music timeless. I'm curious to know how your music was received at the time. What are your impressions of the recurring interest in your early music over the past several years? Also please tell us what followed Antena, and what you've been working on recently!

IA: Now that there's new attention on Camino del sol , some people think we were overlooked but we didn't feel that way. We were part of a big indie family and had no idea of what the music business was like.
After recording Camino del sol , we were asked by Paul Haig to sing on Running away , by Winston Tong to sing on the 12 days of christmas ( for Crepuscule 's comp « The ghost of the Xmas past »). We were the little sisters of Cabaret Voltaire , Tuxedomoon or Throbbing Gristle but even to those people our bossa nova sound was extra terrestrial :).
Still we were accepted because of our indie (almost punk) minds and also cause we were cute and fresh:)
We did a video clip and toured a lot (including The danceteria in New York where we met Sonic Youth)...The end of the band really came when Chris Blackwell signed us on Island Records. By the time we recorded Be Pop , Pascale was gone and then , when Mercury rebought our contract from Island (they released a couple of singles) , Sylvain was still on the picture but not in the studio.When the recoding of En Cavale was completed , Mercury dropped me(as we were signed as a band but I was then on my own).
This is how I went back to Crepuscule records with the stolen tapes , and published them as Isabelle Antena (En Cavale means On the run)...but this is another story or the answer to your question : « What followed Antena ».
Seaside Weekend first appeared on En Cavale and hit the European charts for several weeks.But I was already recoding another album (Hoping For Love) with some old Belgian jazzmen (Johnny Dover , Johnny Hot) and it is Hoping for love and especially « Le Poisson Des Mers Du Sud « that led me to Japan , where during all the 90's I released almost an album a year , selling around 100 000 copies each time. So , I had no reason to try to sell my music elsewhere.
Then in 1999 , Eighteen Street Lounge released their first compilation and it opened with my song « Antena ».
This brought attention from dj's all over the world and I started to work with Buscemi in Belgium , while Yukihiro Fukutomi would cover my song « Playback »...
In 2006 Permanent Vacation came to me with the idea of Camino del sol 's remixes and I thought it was a good idea.The original tapes being lost , I had to re do most of the vocal tracks and re program the machines :)
So , this is what I think of the « recurring interest in my early music ».I've always try to work with a timeless spirit.
And free from the music business obligations (I'm the owner of all my rights recording or publishing).So , I am proud to be re discovered but not that surprised.Those re issues have been only possible because I had the rights to my songs. If it had stayed with Island or Mercury , it would probably still be stored in a box :)

My most recent work , apart from Versions Speciales (2007) , is French Riviera , a production by Yukihiro Fukutomi that made me work with Kyoto Jazz Massive , Jazztronik , Tatsuo Sunaga , Hajime Yoshizawa ... the cream of Japanese nu jazz scene.
I've also been lucky enough to write 2 tracks for the Boondocks (season 1 and 2) and this gave the desire to write more on images (anybody needs original music for their movie ?? ).In 2006 , I recorded a follow up to CDS named "Toujours Du Soleil" and the track Le Spinner was featured in Samsonite
advert campaign
I'm now (today:) recording an album with a big band and lots of horns , arranged 'a la Gil Evans 'to be released by the end of the year.( more infos on this in myspace. com/isabelleantena.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bahama Soul Club vs Isabelle Antena

Bahama Soul Club vs Isabelle Antena

Bahama Soul Club vs Isabelle Antena

I never learned to play an instrument, but if I could, I'd play either the percussion or the bass in a band like Bahama Soul Club . This German outfit plays a mix of bossanova, latin and jazz, with the sole purpose to make the audience move their asses. BHS uses various guestvocalists, like Pat Appleton from De-Phazz, but also the superlovely Isabelle Antena - one of the oz's (original zuchtmeisjes).

A Bout de Souffle is a very danceable song, referring ofcourse to the Godard movie, and features a lot sighing. Great! Bahama Soul Club feat. Isabelle Antena - A Bout de Souffle.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More songs ...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Camino del sol/Pure Pacha 2007

Pete Tong and Sarah Main Pure Pacha Album 2007

Pete Tong’s Pure Pacha party is now into its 5th year. With record-breaking numbers and exceptional guests Pure Pacha retains its title as the king of elegant and debauched partying. With a beautiful ‘extended family’ of like minded people at play every Friday night and always to the soundtrack of edgy house music, eclectic soul and hip hop - Pure Pacha is where it’s at.

What better way to mark this celebration of summer than with the next instalment of the Pure Pacha album mixed by Pete Tong and Sarah Main. An eclectic offering as Pete goes straight into things with Antena’s ‘Camino Del Sol’, a deeply hypnotic, bleep-laden track hotly followed by Pete’s cut of the summer ‘Every Heartbeat’ by Kleepup with vocals from Robyn. Producer de jour Mark Ronson also features with his smash ‘Stop Me’. Pete’s own production with Paul Harris and Jay P ‘Wonderland’ is on there - the best example of a tribute to all that is trippy and techy if ever there was one; it sits neatly alongside James Zabiela and Nic Fanciulli’s One+One offering ‘No Pressure’, with its beautifully crafted strings and atmospheric break down this makes for one unforgettable mix.

Sarah starts with an altogether funkier groove. Carl Kennedy’s ‘Ride the Storm’ and Nu Frequency ‘Love Sick’ tick all the boxes. Then dipping her toe into a more 4am sound with Magik Johnson’s ‘Eastern Lights’, before returning to her disco-fuelled Studio 54 fantasy in the form of Beginerz ‘Ape Stalking’. It draws to a close with a new track from the legendary Billie Ray Martin - ‘Undisco Me’. It does exactly what it says on the tin, an acid fringed track, it makes for one epic ending.

Confirmed guests for the 2007 Pure Pacha parties include Groove Armada, F*ck Me I’m Famous with David Guetta, Alex Neri and some special Il Muretto parties amongst others. Pete is excited to announce a much-anticipated date with the ultra talented Trentmoller on September 14th.

Pure Pacha is also renowned for its imaginative artwork and poster campaigns. This year the relationship with Christian Audigier is extended as Pete and Christian have created something very special around the theme of classic playing cards, poker and tattoos! This artwork has been continued to the CD.