Monday, March 28, 2011

Nénette Et Boni

Nénette Et Boni is the soundtrack of the film by the french director Claire Denis, exclusively performed by Tindersticks. The only song with vocals is Petites Gouttes d'Eau, which is a newly-recorded version of Tiny Tears. Ma Soeur is an instrumental version of My Sister.

Marks Moods was originally a promo only CD sent out to film producers and music supervisors in the US. The versions of Ballad NY, Ballad LA, No More Affairs, Harry's Dilemma and Let's Pretend are exclusive to this CD. There was also a European version pressed by Rough Trade Publishing which is identical apart from the catalog number and legal credits. This album has been re-released as bonus disc of the Nénette et Boni reissue.

The following review is for disc 1 only:

The plot of the 1996 film, Nénette et Boni, from French screenwriter and director Claire Denis, involves the rather downhearted premise of a 14-year-old girl who is in serious need of an attitude adjustment; she's also pregnant and runs away from her boarding school only to end up at the door of her preoccupied brother, who is fixated on the baker's seductive wife. As if that convoluted scenario was not melancholy enough, the soundtrack to the film, the subject matter of which is quite befitting a sort of downcast pop sound, was appropriately turned over to eternal-depressives, Tindersticks. It was a perfect marriage. Of course, the soundtrack is not exactly a normal Tindersticks album; in some senses it is a radical departure. The obvious difference is that the album mostly lacks the bizarrely beautiful Leonard Cohen-on-valium croon of Stuart Staples (present only on the gorgeous "Petites Gouttes d'Eau"), and so some of their usual somber romanticism is inevitably lost. Also, not all of the individual pieces on the album are full-fledged songs, which is understandable given the album's primary responsibility as incidental music. Its tone is far less varied than normal, with some of the same instrumental themes and eerie piano chords reappearing throughout this release on various songs. It certainly lends consistency to the listening experience, but listeners also can't help but feel a sense of musical déjà vu at certain points along the journey. That doesn't keep Nénette et Boni from being entirely sensual and seductive, however, and in a stately, continental sort of way. It's a truly gorgeous piece of work, with the same lulling, shimmering, melancholy sheen that characterizes every Tindersticks album; together, the songs seem like a delusory, synesthesia oasis of sound. The music is absolutely sweeping at times, with string arrangements occasionally insinuating their way into a song almost as if from somewhere outside the piece. At other times, the music takes on a dark, insular complexion and vibe. Tindersticks can be simply creepy at times, as on "La Mort de Félix," but for the most part, their work here maintains enveloping, organic warmth, even when the sentiments are downhearted or chilling. [The album was also available in an extended "Canada Bonus CD" format.]

~ Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide.

The following review is for disc 2:

No Tindersticks fan could imagine an album by this wonderfully dark and dreamy British group that is almost completely devoid of Stuart Staples' voice, but this is what one gets with Marks Moods (the title most likely doesn't refer to any mood swings suffered by bassist Mark Colwill, as there's no apostrophe in the word "Marks"; the band is simply marking moods, you see). Almost everything on this promotional release is instrumental, even those numbers which were originally recorded with vocals. This sampler hunts and pecks through a period of the band's career (1993-1997), and does indeed reveal the musicians to be masters of mood, pacing, and arranging. It might seem worthless to have "Ballad of Tindersticks" broken up into two pieces, and shorn of Staples' subtly humorous spoken word commentary, but, upon close listen, the song is shown to be haunting even without the vocals, evoking a long drive down empty streets on a dark night. And what might be sacrilegious to some could be an old favorite reborn for others: "No More Affairs," with a trumpet bleating out the vocal line. When the listener realizes that Marks Moods was sent out to film producers, it's raison d'être becomes clear: the lads are showing more than a little interest in composing music for features. (Of course, they've done this already, and there are a few choice tracks from the Nenette Et Boni soundtrack to be heard here.) This would never be the album you'd use to introduce someone to the band -- the unparalleled eponymously titled album from 1995 would be the best place to start -- but for those moments when a little Stuart goes a long way, this is where you should turn.

~ Will Lerner, All Music Guide.

Artist: Tindersticks
Album: Nénette Et Boni (Canada Bonus CD)
Year: 1997, 2004
Label: Island

Stuart Staples: vocals
Dave Boulter: organ & accordion
Neil Fraser: guitar
Dickon Hinchliffe: guitar & strings
Al Macaulay: percussion & drums
Mark Colwill: bass

Nénette Et Boni - tracks:
  1. Ma Soeur
  2. La Passerelle
  3. Les Gâteaux
  4. Camions
  5. Nénette Est Là
  6. Petites Chiennes
  7. Nosfératu
  8. Petites Gouttes D'eau
  9. Les Cannes À Pêche
  10. Mort De Félix
  11. Nénette S'en Va
  12. Les Bébés
  13. Les Fleurs
  14. Rumba
sounds like:

Marks Moods - Tracks:

  1. Ballad [NY - Mark Moods]
  2. No More Affairs
  3. Nenette S'En Va
  4. Burried Bones
  5. La Mort De Felix
  6. Paco's Theme
  7. Harry's Dilema [Mark Moods]
  8. Let's Pretend [Mark Moods]
  9. Sleepy Song
  10. Ballad [LA - Mark Moods]
  11. Don't Look Down
  12. Rumba
  13. For Those... [Orchestral Version]
sounds like:

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