Are You Electrified???

Are You Electrified???
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REVIEW : Redemption City - Le Canal Auditif


Ne vous y trompez pas: le nouvel opus double de Joseph Arthur, malgré la multitude de solos de guitares, n’est pas un album rock. Redemption City est, avant tout, un disque pop où l’on retrouve à la fois des touches (nombreuses) de rock et d’électro (encore plus nombreuses). La majorité des compositions sont ici ancrées dans une démarche résolument populaire et accessible pour le commun des audiophiles.

24 chansons donc sur cet album double. Après plusieurs écoutes, un sentiment émane; il aurait été préférable de favoriser la qualité et non la quantité dans cette ville de la rédemption, mais pour quiconque connaît le personnage et son empressement musical (5 disques au cours des 5 dernières années, dont trois en 2007!), cette prolifération ne devrait pas surprendre (il est également un peintre remarquable et avait, jusqu’à tout récemment, sa propre galerie d’art à Brooklyn).

Reste qu’on se perd dans cette création musicale. Le fil conducteur du sitedemo.cauit n’est malheureusement pas bien défini. On passe d’une chanson au solo « guitaresque » de plus de 6 minutes (sur la première sortie du deuxième disque, Surrender to the Storm) à un tempo que ne renieraient pas les amateurs de l’IglooFest (principalement les chansons Sleepless et It Takes A Lot of Time to Live In the Moment), avant de nous offrir une composition atmosphérique ou alors une autre qui vise la séduction radiophonique (les sur-arrangements de No Surrender Comes for Free sont à pleurer).

Relevons tout de même que Redemption City débute sur de bonnes volontés avec les chansons Travels As Equals et Wasted Days, deux compos qui rappellent les albums précédents du Newyorkais d’adoption : bon goût pour la pop, savant mélange des éléments arthuriens, c’est-à-dire des pédales de distorsion, des claviers, des bidouillages et des bruits d’électro. On retrouve d’ailleurs ces éléments sur bien d’autres compositions de cet album.

C’est pourtant la chanson I Am the Mississippi, véritable incongruité dans le paysage de ce double musical par la simplicité de ses arrangements, qui s’avère la composition la plus réussie. Une simple guitare accompagnée de la voix – chaude et basse – de Joseph Arthuret d’un texte, magnifique, sur la solitude de ce fleuve et de son histoire. Preuve que la simplicité, souvent…

C’est donc malheureux que Joseph Arthur se soit étendu en longueur et en style pour nous offrir ce disque mi-figue, mi-raisin. En espérant qu’il retrouve le bon chemin rapidement… Parce que nous, on l’aime beaucoup, Joseph Arthur!

Ma note : 6/10


Redemption City

New double album
Download it for free
and Donate .

Words from Joseph :

Please don’t take the method or the freedom of this release
to be any judgment on its value.
I think it’s top notch,
but it’s great to take advantage of what the internet is actually good at -
This is the first time I’ve released something while still
inhabiting its space,
I’m alive in the nowness of it!
Join me there or here or here and there.

Around the time I was putting out Redemption’s Son,
I met Peter Beard in Montauk.
Lucky enough to stay with friends at the old Andy Warhol
where the Rolling Stones had rehearsed.
A bunch of us were there
partying, playing cards, trying to do yoga,
but mostly partying.
It was fun.
(Thank you Rene and Suzy.)
One night I told Peter the name of my record that was
about to come out
"Redemption’s Son," I said.
"Too religious," he said.
He was probably right but that’s what it was called, though
it wasn’t out yet.

The next day he said, “I thought of a better title for you.”
I asked, “What?”
He paused for drama and then said,
“Redemption City.”
911 had just happened,
it was a crazy title and I instantly liked it better than
“Redemption’s Son”,
but it was too late,
that record was already on its way to stores.
(that’s where we used to get music back in the day.)
But I held onto that title.
I made a giant painting of a city when I opened the
‘Museum of Modern Arthur’
and called it “Redemption City”
but somehow its destiny is to be a title of a record.
Peter Beard is a deep cat,
animal blood on huge beautiful prints must awaken the
favor of the gods
because his will for this title has chased me down the years,
and a few years ago I set about making it.
The record inspired by the title.
What would a city of redemption sound like?
What kind of characters would inhabit it?
The files for this record date back to ’09 and one track
further than that.
I work on it, get burned out and then reopen it weeks later.
I built a studio (with the help of Matt Becker) in Brooklyn
to make it,
and it’s the only record I’ve made where I’ve done
everything on it,
played all the things that make all the noise, drums, bass,
synths and guitars,
produced it mixed it, you name it.
Not that i haven’t been helped.
Jen Michel used to come around and listen to tracks and
"Man, this is the record."
she wanted this one out for awhile,
but it wasn't ready;
a few more buildings had to go up and a few more roads
had to be paved.
Carla Podgurecki snapped the cover photo one night on
my roof overlooking the city of NYC
and Merritt Jacob came in at the end of it all and helped
me make final mix choices
and nudged the thing along in the right direction towards
Actually, that’s an understatement; he became the partner I
needed to help find the finish.
Finally, it was mastered by the great Fred Kevorkian.

It's been one hell of a process,
and I hope you like it.
If you do, pass it along and spread the word!

We’ve set this up so you can just have the record.
You can donate,
pay what you want,
or nothing at all.
Passing it on, spreading the word, is better than money,
but records are hard to make and expensive so if you dig it,
Dig in!


There is lots of interesting low-end stuff on this record so...
I’m talking to you with the laptop on your chest listening to
this thing,
lazy in your bed and not wanting to connect it to fancy
headphones or decent speakers
for shame!


Part 1
Is complete as a record and for those who are generally
against the idea of an artist making a double record (of
which there are many) you can stop there and you have it.

Part 2
Is the deep cuts,
Which would have otherwise remained on the cutting room
floor or else been leaked out over time in various ways,
fragmented beings with no brothers or sisters or home.
I think both parts serve to strengthen the whole. They are
relating to each other and breathing back and forth.
They are each other’s shadow and hold hands when no one
is watching.
It’s true that often less is more but sometimes more is more
and that is something that, in this case, will be down to

With the Internet and new ways of releasing music it seems
that the doors are open to broader perspectives on what's
too much.
Here you have both a double and a single record,
depending on how you want it or your level of interest.
Also it's not important (or possible!) to listen to all of it in
one sitting.
Take in Part 1 and then move slowly into part 2.
It's a city.
There are lots of avenues and side streets,
Abandoned buildings and bodegas,
Cars parked on the side of oblivion with cats in them.
Come in and walk around.

So without further ado,

for Peter Beard and the others who helped me get here,

Welcome to

Redemption City."