NEW SINGLE - GOMA - OUT NOW | watch video
NEW ALBUM - JUNGLE ? QUELLE JUNGLE ? - MARCH 2 18

There are some records that manage to sound both of a time and utterly timeless and Bon Voyage Organisation’s Jungle? Quelle Jungle? (a nod to Supertramp’s Crisis? What Crisis?) is one of those albums. Its silken-smooth production, irresistible grooves, funk-tinged guitars, lush soundscapes and general glowing presence could easily lead one to believe that have dug up a lost disco gem from the 1970s. However, behind the disco-pop gleam lies eerie dystopian sci-fi ruminations of a futuristic bent and tones that can often feel as French as they do Asian or African.

This sort of cross-continental exploration is an expansion on BVO’s previous two EPs, the man behind the Organisation, Adrien Durand, says. “I tried to continue the musical expedition between dystopian Science-Fiction Haunted Africa - plus Haitian Vaudou on “Soleil Dieu” - and futuristic Asia. Addressing, in a double entendre manner, some of the political issues that I am sensitive to.” In fact the jungle in question in the album’s title is a metaphorical one and one that creates a vast series of environments for Durand to explore such subjects as world trade, utopian ideals and themes of idols, as well as of time and communication. However, one will need to speak French to decipher such explorations, as well as shake off the natural impulse to move with every glorious beat on its 13 tracks, of which are moved along by Maud Nadal and Agathe Bonitzer’s golden vocals.

Durand is a full-time producer based in Paris, working with the likes of Amadou & Mariam, so it makes sense that this record would absolutely sparkle in this department. Durand feeds off the variety of musicians coming and going during recording sessions as well as the rotating members and numbers of people involved with the band but fundamentally he writes all songs on piano first before bringing them to record live. “We recorded a rhythm section of five - drums, percussion, guitar and myself on bass/synth bass and keyboards - at La Frette which is a studio located in a mansion outside of Paris and fitted with a beautiful 1973 NEVE desk. We only used analogue gear, by taste really, and found it a pretty reliable way of doing things. This simply consists of putting good players together in a room and waiting for the right take to happen.” Two four-day sessions and a “cooling off” period (to let the recordings settle) soon followed before Durand picked the material back up to give it a final polish.

The resulting album is one loaded with intricacies and idiosyncrasies, something that Durand puts down to his own unique approach. “I don’t consider myself much of a songwriter but I love arranging rhythm sections and I’m pretty proud of the ones on this record.” This applies when it comes to working with such musicians as Inor Sotolongo Zapata, who with Durand used traditional Cuban percussive instruments and explored Haitian rhythms. When Durand expands on some of the ideas and influences that were funnelled into the record, you begin to get a sense of the vastness of the sounds that fill his world, from Trevor Horn’s production work on ABC’s Lexicon of Love, to the literary work of JG Ballard to the visual flair of the original Blade Runner and even the Tuareg sounds of Tinariwen, due to the fact that his studio neighbours their manager’s and he would hear their rhythms bleeding through the walls. You therefore end up with an album that offers tracks such as “GOMA” that fuses Chinese and African rhythms as well as “SI D’Adventure” a piece of pop music that is dazzlingly hook-laden.

As a result of this cooking pot of sounds, influences, thoughts and creations, Durand has more of a gumbo approach to making this music than a set-out scientific formula. “There is no definite recipe for me to like the production of a record,” he says. “Of course it really sticks out that my work is really influenced by the 1978-1983 period, the golden age and last stand of analogue studios and session musicians.” Whilst Durand adores the traditional and conventional music, he really views this as something bigger and wider. “I have a taste for the otherworldly vibe from records coming from less sought-after musical scenes, particularly Poland, Haiti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Congo and early Cantonese pop. Languages and the rapport of the people involved in the making of those records really inspires me. I particularly hate the use of the word “World Music” as a potpourri for everything that doesn’t sound quite western enough.”

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