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Sebastien Tellier is back!

Nov 23

Written by:
Friday, November 23, 2007  RssIcon

So your blogger's long march is over; France's train drivers are finally back on the rails and Parisian commuters can get back to their beloved metro-boulot-dodo routine. And dear old CLUAS seems to have surmounted the techie problems that knobbled us for the last couple of days (if anyone can sort out techie problems, it's the gaffer) and we're back blogging again. Yay! 

Jesus! It's Sebastien Tellier!Similarly, one of France's cult pop stars is shedding the stripey pyjamas of inactivity and slipping on the working clothes of music-making.

Sebastien Tellier's lovely 2004 single 'La Ritournelle' (from the equally fantastic 'Politics' album) received overwhelming critical adoration, loads of airplay and steady employment as a soundtrack to ads, promos, television reports, fashion shows and the like. Since then, Tellier has been conspicuous by his low profile, apart from performing the occasional small-scale Paris show.

A time-filling B-sides/odds n' ends album, 'Universe', came out last year, as Tellier was reported to be having difficulty in finishing the follow-up to 'Politics'. He collaborated on the soundtrack to (and had a cameo role in) a French comedy called 'Steak' directed by Quentin Dupieux, who in a past life was known as Mister Oizo and had an unlikely UK Number 1 in 1998 with a tuneless jeans-commercial jingle called 'Flat Beat' (both ad and video featured a yellow hand-puppet called Flat Eric. Remember?). Apart from that, no news of a new record.

The word in Paris was that Tellier was suffering something close to a nervous breakdown. Indeed, your blogger was witness to one act of bizarreness from Tellier - during a concert broadcast live on French radio station Radio Nova last year he revealed that his mother had died earlier that day. The shock and unease of his fans was nothing compared to that of Madame Tellier, alive and well and listening to her son on the radio.

Now, however, Tellier seems to have got himself in order. His new album, 'Sexuality', produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk, is due out in February of next year. The first single off it, 'Sexual Sportswear', has just been released.

On first listen, it's a disappointment. Swooshy synths, 'vintage' production (dig the whip-crack snare effects! The Kraftwerk-y keyboard riffs!) no vocals - all in all, it sounds like Jean-Michel Jarre. In other words, monotonous and boring. The SebastiAn Remix on the 12" has a bit more life to it, but it's still no great shakes. Let's hope it starts that mysterious process of 'growing on us' very soon, and that the album is better.

You can listen to 'Sexual Sportswear' and its remix on Tellier's MySpace page. There's no video yet, so here's Quentin Dupieux's video for the album version of 'La Ritournelle'. We're not asking Tellier to make exactly the same record again - just something new which is as entrancing as this:

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Aidan Curran, based in Paris, has been writing for CLUAS since 2004. More info about Aidan...

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