Tribute Mix To Bashung – Tenebre Plays Blessures
French-Korean techno producer Ténèbre has recorded a tribute mix to avant-garde French producer Alain Bashung, a pioneer fusing the use of synths with classical rock takes and techno, Bashung was an innovator combining punk, techno and cold wave.
Here, Ténèbre talks us through what made Mr Bashung so incredible – you can listen to his tribute mix while you read along;
In France, Alain Bashung was a singular figure in pop. Revered by some and disregarded by others, his chaotic career and unequaled talent for texts and compositions make him a sort of sacred monster in music. The idea behind this mix is to view his discography through the prism of electronic arrangements in our times where one worships the sound of analogue drum machines and synthesizers.
Those particular songs make intensive use of those machines that became the tools of Bashung's creative process, a pioneer in that he was not initially an electronic musician. Yet a synthetic instrumentation became the foundation of his hard line, starting with the commercial suicide that is Play Blessures in 1982. The public soon discovered this immensely innovative hybrid of post-punk, techno and coldwave — a black hole in the landscape of the French musical variety.
One hears the systematic use of the TR 808 in both the rehearsal phases and the studio albums. A now-familiar innovation was Bashung's use of the Amen Break in 1998 to create the backbone of the song "Samuel Hall".
Far more organic and grandiose in the arrangements, his late albums Fantaisie Militaire and L’Imprudence were masterpieces. The public often gravitates to albums of the "Grands Espaces" such as Osez Josephine and Bleu Pétrole, yet Bashung's darker period of the '80s and '90s remains the most innovative and interesting of his career.
However, to a more personal point of view, he has a particular place in my audio library because the first record I was ever exposed to as a kid, at the age of 5 or 6 was a "Best Of" of Bashung offered by my father with a CD player. Clearly not the kind of stuff made for children and yet to have had it in the hands for years and having listened to the most shabby pieces of the French repertoire forged me a taste for synthetic textures and drum machines patterns. I did not turn into a producer overnight but it probably played in my unconscious and when we grew up, I think the most important is that the doors remain opened. I've followed with great attention all Bashung discography until his death in 2009 and more the time will passes the more I will realise how important he was and how much he has been influential.
Hear more from Ténèbre on his Soundcloud page.