My next collaborative project is probably a headless guitar - not my immediate choice but interesting in term of ergonomics.
Alain Bashung - L'Imprudence : I never listen to French pop music, and I even find it irritating when they play some in German or Austrian cafés like it is trendy to do! I can listen to classic French chanson, but as much as jazz combined beautifully with French poetry and inspired genius songwriting as early as in the 1930s - from Charles Trenet to Claude Nougaro via Georges Brassens -, rock never really worked for France. It was actually introduced in the 1950s, but as a parodic genre, by Boris Vian and Henri Salvador who were genuine jazz musicians and thought that rock was mere a fad - and bad music. It never went over that I'm afraid, and doing first degree French rock is almost impossible, and often pathetic.
But French people like me - and like everybody in the world - still grew up listening to English and American rock and pop, and that's what influences them when they want to make music. It's just extremely difficult to create something specific and authentic combining two cultures both foreign and very close. Alain Bashung was one of the few who could do that - and I remember that he was the first to bring post-punk sounds in the early 1980s in France. At some point he became such an institution in France that it was impossible to listen to his music anymore, but he was vey talented for self-sabotage and in 2002 he released L'Imprudence.
In this radical album clearly inspired by Scott Walker, you hardly have real songs anymore, often no tunes, no verses, no choruses, just half chanted, half spoken words of his trademark tongue-in-cheek obscure poetry, on top of atmospheric but melodious music mixing electric guitars (played by Marc Ribot or Arto Lindsay), big orchestra, percussions and his heartbreaking harmonica. The album is a bit too long but Bashung's voice is very emotional, that allows him to go a step further than Walker (in my humble opinion).