The events of May '68 are seen as a turning point in France's
social history - pictures of the barricades are still potent
images. Lines were drawn politically, culturally, socially, and
pop music was not exempt.
"Paris In The Spring" is a collection of the new music, put
together by Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, that
emerged from France between 1968 and the mid-70s, an
extraordinary blend of several previously independent strains
French chanson and y -y , American jazz and funk, British
chamber pop - shot through with the era's underlying mixture
of optimism, uncertainty and darkness. This is the first
collection of its kind, released on the 50th anniversary of the
Serge Gainsbourg - a jazz pianist with a chanson past and a
pop present - was in a position to play a key role in
soundtracking France in flux over the next five years. His
"Histoire de Melody Nelson", with its heavily atmospheric
arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier, was the acme of this
new, unsettling French sound. "Paris In The Spring" includes
other equally dazzling Vannier arrangements (for L onie) and
Gainsbourg compositions (for Jane Birkin and Mireille Darc).
Prior to 1968, 60s French pop had been dominated by y -y ,
the country's unique brand of upbeat pop, a world of primary
colours, mini-jupes and discoth ques (a French invention,
after all). Its stars either faded fast after May '68 or adapted to
the new era: Jacques Dutronc ('Le M taphore') and France Gall
('Chanson Pour Que Tu M'aimes un Peu') discovered a moody
side they had previously kept hidden, while Fran oise Hardy
released the Brazilian-influenced, after-hours classic "La
Question", from which we have picked 'Viens'.
New bands like Triangle emerged, influenced by Soft Machine
and Gong who became regulars on the Paris club scene.
French library music from Janko Nilovic and film soundtracks
(Fran ois De Roubaix, Karl-Heinz Sch fer) reflected the era's
edginess. All are represented on "Paris In The Spring", making
it a continental cousin to Stanley and Wiggs's hugely popular
2017 Ace compilation "English Weather".