The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Etienne Daho

12-12-07 Etienne Daho

(re-run from Aug. ’02)

GENRE: French 80’s ‘nouvelle vague’ (new wave) male vocalist

I think I first ‘tried’ Etienne Daho merely because he was on Virgin France Records. Virgin UK was pretty darn good in the early 80’s, so I figured that Virgin France would have their stuff together. My hunch was correct. Etienne Daho was (and is) a formidable artist.

“La Notte, La Notte” (his 2nd LP) is the title I started with. Daho has a pleasant voice, seems to be a decent songwriter – the backing is rather good electronic 80’s pop, but still has the sound of a cohesive band (O.M.D. with a better singer comes to mind). Daho’s longtime collaborator Arnold Turbost is responsible for the swinging grooves.

Along with Charlelie Couture, Etienne Daho was one of the artists that I ‘escaped’ the British new wave with. Just as Serge Gainsbourg teaches the world that “France had a 60’s”, so Monsieur Couture and Etienne Daho can teach us that “France has (had) an 80’s”. A rather good 80’s, i.e. better/ more interesting to me than the US 80’s pop scene.

And, no, my French language skills are not great. I took French for ages in school (“S’il vois plait, je voudrais voir le disques Francais”) – let’s just say that I have “high school French”. I may not know what all of his stuff is about, but the superb productions and talented singing keeps me coming back (for over 20 years now!).

However, I don’t find Daho strictly time-locked in the 80’s. To this day, I buy his new CD’s; his 90’s work is every bit as valid as his 80’s output. Maybe even better. Try “Eden” (1995).

Daho has found himself working along side some interesting folks – Astrud Gilberto, ex-Comateens members, Chris Isaak, Lio, Bill Pritchard etc.

“Tombe Pour La France” is a good single, too. And the video for it is great. Nice electronic beat, with some ‘big’ production.

If Etienne Daho hasn’t already crossed your path, check him out. The 80’s stuff is excellent and the more recent stuff is about as contemporary as I get.

If I have a criticism for Etienne Daho, it’s that he’s never come to Los Angeles for a concert…or if he did, I was out of the country. If Jean-Jacques Goldman and Les Rita Mitsouko can come to L.A. for a gig, Monsieur Daho can too!

2007 addendum: I don’t have his newest CD, but I’m gunning for it when I hit Amoeba San Francisco in a few weeks!


Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Daho

Aieeee! Ron, you neglected to point out the -most crucial- artists with which Daho has worked [in my opinion!]. Sure, sure. I love and respect Astrud Gilberto, Chris Isaak, Lio and Bill Pritchard. You'll find them in my collection in significant numbers. I don't have any Comateens music but that doesn't mean that I didn't spend years trying [and failing] to get their early Cachalot Records material! I still don't have it!

But the jewel in the crown for me is Daho's linkup with the formidable electropop group Torch Song - instrumentalist William Orbit, singer Laurie Mayer and cohort Rico Conning! All of them added considerable burnish to the well named Pop Satori!

Just my two cents worth.

And yes, while his early electro material caught my ear, all of his albums delight. His taste and talent certainly make him a longtime fave.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

Re: Pop Satori

Yow! I just looked and it's now a 2xCD remaster! I'll be needing that...

8:56 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

I have you (Ron) and Jim to thank for my discovery and enjoyment of this superb French bon-bon!


10:20 PM  

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