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Bertrand Belin: “I like the rough style”

With “Tambour Vision”, but without trumpets, Bertrand Belin offers a bare album, but not devoid of interest…

After having made the actor in “Tralala”, the musical comedy of the Larrieu brothers for which he composed the music, it is the mode of the camera that has chosen Bertrand Belin for his seventh album. A head-to-head in fact with his longtime accomplice Thibault Frisoni.

The Breton with sometimes granitic words, who is also a writer and actor, strips in “Tambour Vision” his music which sometimes evokes Erik Satie as well as a refined, organic and sometimes ironic cold wavewhile paying homage in the texts and the voice to Kat Onoma and to the late Alain Bashung through a fantasy that has nothing gratuitous or… military.

The album is so bare that “Carnaval”, the title of the first song, evokes rather the fact of dropping the mask…

With “Carnaval”, I rather wanted to show us as we are, to show behind the scenes, of the man as I say in the song. I wanted to overturn social codes, behavioral values, evidence, genders… in short, putting things head over heels.

The word “ass” comes up often in the album…

Realizing that everyone had one, I thought it would interest the French (laughs).

“Synths have come back in the odor… of sanctity for about twenty years: either by revisiting very scholarly works, like Pierre Henry, or by referring to productions from the 80s, like Madonna.”

Bertrand Belin


“Que Dalle Tout” presents a Mathieu Boogaerts side, stripped-down electronics à la Elli and Jacno.

It’s indeed very bare like with Mathieu Boogaerts which the piece resembles in the beat. The way of arranging the rhythms between them is quite meticulous but this is another aesthetic.

“Tambour” presents for its part an aspect of the 80s, cold wave, Stranglers era “Madness”…

It’s certain. The 80s are a time when synths were very present, but where we were not completely finished with rock, punk having prevailed just before. Elli and Jacno come from this post-punk which acidulates with synths. I like this period that I did not know, being too young. Synths have come back in the odor of… sanctity for twenty years: either by revisiting very scholarly works, like Pierre Henry, or by referring to productions from the 80s, like Madonna. But other musicians like Can, Alan Vega or Martin Rev also teased these machines. I have more of a taste for this rock aesthetic rather than variety à la Michel Bergé, which has many emulators in France. I like rough styles.

“Drum”, Bertrand Belin

Paradoxically, you use the mellotron which is rather associated with the psychedelic wave?

I use it mainly for winds, although I often use sax or flutes, but not like the Beatles on “Strawberry Fields”. In this atmosphere of synthetic sounds and drum machines that characterizes this album, the mellotron brings an analog dimension. Non-specialists have the impression of hearing saxophones.

“Satie has always seemed likeable to me. He is a character who is on the edge of art music, but who, in form, has managed to interest fans of pop and rock.”

Bertrand Belin


In “Que Dalle Tout”, you sing “I come from a long line of zeros”. There is a social determinism side to the song. Pierre Bourdieu, sociologist who died just 20 years ago, does that speak to you?

Yes, of course, but I sing “I come from a long line of zeros and ones”. Bourdieu interests me, but it is above all my personal experience that speaks to me. And then, there are others auscultators of class transfers and atavism. Something is at stake on the side of inheritance in life: there are those who inherit from a line of drunkards and others, from a multinational. We can perhaps organize small passages between these two sets in order to share things.

But I’m not talking about a line of zeros in the pejorative sense of the term. Zeros and ones means first that there are couples. This then evokes the binary code of computing, that of social security, the generation management code. It is an ironic allusion to the fact that we are just passing through the maze of the planetary economy.

“Que Dalle Tout”, Bertrand Belin

“The Lute Master” reminds me of Robert Wyatt…

You can’t please me more! It is a song with jazz influences and a certain operatic lyricism achieved with three pieces of string; with a slightly more elegiac song, like that of Robert Wyatt. And then, I was looking for the greatest possible freedom in form, even if it’s quite caressing. With Robert Wyatt, the musical forms are not so elaborate, they are rather both accessible and singular. We guess a lot of kindness and goodness in him.

On this album, we feel a freedom that evokes Erik Satie: an ironic side, which dares many things, while remaining stripped down…

There is also on “Que Dalle Tout” a small quotation from “Gymnopédies” (composition by Erik Satie, Ed) in the saxophone line. Satie has always seemed likeable to me. In addition to his music which I particularly like “Cool Pieces”, it is about a character who finds himself at the edge of scholarly music, but which, in form, has managed to interest fans of pop and rock. He practiced a musical form which is undoubtedly transmitted more easily than Schoenberg… (he’s laughing). Satie is a major influence on today’s musicians, including electronic music enthusiasts.

“Bashung represents for me one of the possible modalities of the Francophonie in rock and pop music.”

Bertrand Belin


Because of your way of singing and your cryptic lyrics, you are often compared to Bashung…

It’s not insulting: I was born into a world where he was already a singer. It represents for me one of the possible modalities of the Francophonie in rock and pop music.. There are others, but my taste leads me more towards Bashung. He was someone who was interested both in music in its experimental side and who at the same time had a strong tropism for American blues rock music. He had an appetite for modernity, an interest in poetry – contemporary in particular – and a fantasy in the cutting of his texts, sometimes combined with a tragic depth.

I recognize myself in these elements. Being a carpenter like him, I also work with wood. Logical since we share common trunks… (he smiles).

“Drum Vision”, Bertrand Belin.

Composed by Bertrand Belin

Performed by Bertrand Belin

Label: Pias

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