The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


Back in 2006 we had high praise for French singer-songer Emilie Simon. Her album of that year, 'Végétal', was a fine collection of understated and charming electro-pop - and we particularly loved her derrière-kicking single 'Fleur De Saison', a rare example of a brilliant French-language rock song (as distinct from an electro or pop song).

Emilie SimonBefore that, she made her breakthrough in France for her soundtrack to the original version of wintry nature documentary 'La Marche De L'Empereur', though her music wasn't used in the English version, 'March Of The Penguins'.

Simon (right) has just released her third studio album, 'The Big Machine', and it's quite good. While 'Végétal' had hints of Kate Bush about it, 'The Big Machine' feels like a full-on homage to the great woman - a similar style of piano-based pop songs with hints of showtunes and classical training to them, served on a bed of modern and retro electronica.

Simon's voice is remarkably similar to Bush's - the same flighty, arabesque upper register that tilts towards a slightly squeaky falsetto. Added to this, the lyrics on 'The Big Machine' are in English. (She now lives and works in New York, as recounted in this album's 'Chinatown'.)

We only hope that she won't mind the constant comparisons to La Bush. But then, there are worse fates in life than being compared favourably to a bona fide pop genius.

Aside from the Kate Bush similarities, there's a lot to enjoy on 'The Big Machine'. Simon can certainly write strong, catchy tunes with satisfying choruses - we reckon these songs will sound great live. (No Irish or UK shows for her at the time of writing - yet another similarity to Kate Bush. Sorry; we'll stop that.)

You can listen to 'The Big Machine' in full for free here on Deezer, and there are tracks on Emilie Simon's website and MySpace page. Our favourites are 'The Cycle', the 'Babooshka'-esque 'Ballad Of The Big Machine' - and the lead-off single from the album, the very '80s 'Dreamland':

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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.