Media Condition: NM
Sleeve Condition: VG+
Genre: Electronic, Pop, Jazz, New jazz, Balearic beat
Notes: 1986 pressing, Japanese import. Very clean copy. OBI on cover in VG+ condition. Comes with lyrics insert.
If you like: a mix of balearic beat–the likes of Grace Jones, Laid Back, Saint Etienne and Anna Domino–city pop, bossa nova, and jazz, you’ll greatly appreciate this record.
About: Electro-samba pioneer turned jazz-pop polymath, Isabelle Antena has quietly sold more than a million albums since 1982. From Camino Del Sol to Bossa Super Nova, her cool latin, bossa, jazz and funk vibes have delighted fans around the globe, and remain a staple of hip DJ record boxes from Ibiza to Goa to New York City.
Originally the Antena project was a trio. In 1981 Pascale Moiroud and Sylvain Fasy left their respective hometowns of Valence and Clermont in the south of France and headed for Paris. There they met sassy native Isabelle Powaga and discovered a shared passion for the analog mekanics of Kraftwerk, the latin sounds of Jobim and Gilberto, and an eye for a strong BCBG image. Thus was born Antena.
After a spell busking in Metro stations, the group recorded their first demo early in 1982, then posted out copies to three favoured labels: Ralph, Ze and Les Disques du Crépuscule. At the time the domestic market in France was moribund, and so Antena were delighted to receive an enthusiastic response from Crépuscule, a boutique label based in Brussels with an impressive, eclectic roster that included Tuxedomoon, Paul Haig, Wim Mertens and the Factory Benelux imprint.
In March 1982 Isabelle, Pascale and Sylvain traveled to London to record their first single, produced by former Ultravox frontman John Foxx at his studio, The Garden. Two years earlier, Foxx had set a new standard for minimal electronic music with his solo debut Metamatic, of which Antena were declared fans; now his sparse production style gave a unique edge to their wry version of “The Boy From Ipanema”, the Brazilian classic recorded by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto in 1964. However, it was the two self written, self-produced tracks on the flipside, “To Climb the Cliff” and “Unable”, which left a greater impression–rougher sounding, but true electro-samba.
After plans to record their first long player with Foxx fell through, Camino Del Sol was cut in Brussels in June and produced by the band themselves. Clocking in at just 18 minutes, the mini-album offers five simple, seductive latin sketches, of which the sublime title track, with its wonderful synth riff halfway, is the highlight, run a close second by exquisite ballad Silly Things. Crépuscule archivist Frank Brinkhuis captures the timeless appeal of the album perfectly. “Antena were the sound of margaritas and a deck of cards, charades and bellini, and impromptu bathing-suit-optional pool parties. All housed in a gorgeous sleeve by the brilliant Crépuscule in-house designer Benoît Hennebert: a still life of the good life, perfectly matching the music.”
Since then, Isabelle has released more than a dozen albums, spanning jazz, funk, latin and pop, as well as writing for and producing other artists. She remains an artist of great integrity–proudly independent, and faithful to the bold philosophy she espoused to NME back in 1984. “The fact that we have had to struggle quite a lot to get to even where we are now is not important. I think there is always a value in people whose music is not mainstream. I know that in another time people were blaming Debussy and Ravel because they were playing different things to the mainstream. What is hard to listen to today might be easier to listen to tomorrow. The good thing about music is that anything is possible”. *via Les Disques du Crépuscule
Why it’s worth your time: From the moment you hear Antena’s “Seaside Weekend,” it’s difficult to think about much else. This mysterious draw has been felt across the world and only further inflamed by Numero’s release of the ever-desirable Camino Del Sol in 2004. Such an enigmatic sound can move even those who claim they don’t dance–or at the least, inspire a longing for drives through a beach town in a Triumph TR8 or an MG MGB convertible paired with some unreserved head bobbing to the sounds coming from the respective speakers. En Cavale is no different. Antena fashions songs that act as anamolies–arresting, yet commoving, obviously cool, yet invitingly warm, complex, yet engaging; irresistable.
A favorite track: Be Pop