Sebastien Tellier: Sexuality
Sebastien Tellier, essential music pioneer, and the unique voice of modern French electronic-edged pop, returns with a seminal new studio album ‘Sexuality’. A stunning musical statement, it is easily his most commercial album to date, and combines all the elements of his deeply emotive French individualism with a new melodic pop sensibility that is instantly accessible.
Produced by Guy Manuel De Homem-Christo – astonishingly the first full artist project that he has produced outside of Daft Punk – this is a fantastic album that explodes pre-conceptions and heralds a new musical direction for Sebastien.
From the stylish electronic groove of opening track ‘Roche’ through the irresistible synth riffs of ‘Kilometer’ and ‘Sexual Sportswear’, the upbeat, almost Phantom Of Paradise-esque harmonies of ‘Divine’, and slow-burning atmospheric keys of ‘Elle’ and ‘Une Heure’ the album fizzes with a creative energy that is hard to resist and even harder to pin down.
‘Sexuality’ is Tellier’s musical statement of intent for lovemaking: emotional, hypnotic and oozing with sensuality. With blissfully understated vocals, conveying a barely suppressed passion, Tellier comes on like a modern day Serge Gainsbourg. Musically, the album touches on everything from synthetic electro and classical, to 80’s inspired pop and disco, and looks set to cross Sebastien over to the mainstream.
‘Sexuality’ is his third studio album, following 2005’s ‘Politics’, & 2001’s ‘L’Incroyable Vérité’. It is a clear development for a truly exceptional talent, whose highly personal and intimate style has allowed him to become the very exponent of French cool; he’s the one true artist who clearly connects the vanguard of modern French music, from Air through to Mr.Oizo (Sebastien was co-writer and performer on the electro-classical club anthem ‘Stunt’), Daft Punk (his No.1 fans) and SebastiAn of Ed Banger.
Best known for the massive 2005 tear-jerking classic ‘La Ritournelle’, Sebastien has proved himself to be a truly original cinematic pop poet, and his music has become inextricably linked with film, which stretches back to the 2004 cult classic ‘Narco’, and the superbly produced animation ‘Broadway’. He has become something of a director’s darling, with his music a key feature on the soundtracks from Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost In Translation‘, Mr Oizo’s ‘Steak’, and fellow Parisians Daft Punk’s recent opus ‘Electroma‘.
Sebastien is also at home in front of the camera and has appeared in several films – most recently in Mr Oizo, aka Quentin Dupieux’s future cult classic ‘Steak’.
Furthermore Sebastien has also attracted fans from the art and fashion worlds – including Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Jacobs and fellow French artist Xavier Veilhan – both through his music and his own unique style.
‘Sexuality’ is an album that represents the dizzying landscape of all these elements of his life, and will continue the beautifully fulfilling journey of Sebastien Tellier. Now is the time to get on board.
Sexuality, track by track.
2007. Summer time in Biarritz. A bar on the beach. Sébastien Tellier, immaculately dressed in a white suit, is leaning on the bar, sipping a Martini. In the distance the sun is setting, some bronzed girls are heading nonchalantly towards The Blue Cargo. Sébastien clicks his fingers: the sounds of Sexuality, his third album, fill the room. Eleven tracks which cover the whole night in less than an hour, from dusk ’til dawn. He whispers a few words in our ears about each of them.
Roche : “I always used to spend my holidays there. I always wanted to return, play my music and say to myself “Tonight, I’m king of the night”. In this song, the sun is beating down and I’m having really intense fantasies about girls in bikinis. If I wanted to seduce them, I’d play this song which is a European or French twist on the sexual enchantment that you’d associate with American R’n'B.”
Kilometer : “With this song, you should try and think of Justin Timberlake, but from Berlin instead – a mix of American sensuality and cold Teutonic precision. It’s my vision of German love: the motorway which runs for miles.”
Look : “This is a song about the Latin style of seduction – completely based on appearances. I like knowing that a woman has taken the time to make herself look attractive. «Look» is about the little bit of skin between the mini skirt and stockings. I’m talking about sex here in a wise and serious manner, like an analyst elegantly trying to pick up girls in a cocktail bar in New York.”
Divine : “This is my tribute to the Beach Boys and the Juicy Fruits (from the 1974 musical Phantom of the Paradise). It’s about a time of innocence – when having fun was more important than picking up girls. I visualise a bunch of kids playing on the beach and I’d really love to play with them.”
Let’s stop for a second. With Sexuality, is Sébastien Tellier really turning on the charm? Situated somewhere between the soundtrack for a porno film and a digitized soul, at the same time erotic and synthesised, does this mean his latest incarnation brings to mind an electronic Latin lover? Sexuality can be conceived as the carriage of Casanova mounted on Hummer wheels. Here we find the old Europe of Christophe, Ennio Morricone and Giorgio Moroder flirting outrageously with the new school of contemporary R’n'B, bringing Justin Timberlake, Beyonce or Timbaland to mind for 51 minutes of an intense, technological sensuality. Time to regain consciousness:
Pomme : “This is the song which is most representative of the whole album. I see it as the most erotic as well as the sweetest. The apple is the forbidden fruit. The sun waits until the lovers have finished making love before rising. He doesn’t want to disturb them. “
Une heure : “I’m singing here about my admiration for bisexuals who have the chance of sampling all the types of pleasure. Bisexuality shows the greatest freedom of spirit – the genuinely cool people are bisexuals. It was the first erotic song that I wrote; I wanted to make it last an hour. It triggered something off in my mind, which resulted in the album.”
Sexual Sportswear: “The first single. An instrumental. This track is the best representation of my relationship with Guy-Man: My moving harmonies mixed with the efficiency and lightness of Daft Punk. For me, the ultimate fantasy is a girl in a tracksuit working out in her living room. She has two coaches who make her work her glutes and her abs…things can only get messy from there.”
Elle : “Composed with Guy-Man, it’s the «Fox and the Hound» song of the album. It’s impossible to reach orgasm without some closeness and tenderness at least. The key to sex is love. It’s a very pure song which resembles heaven.”
Fingers of Steel : “This song is about the Kubrickian fantasy of the machine which is self-aware. The computer touches me here sensually with its fingers of steel. From our union comes this song.”
Manty : “I love classical music; it’s a huge inspiration for me. My starting point here is the universe of Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette: a mix of discretion and glitz which for me is extremely sexy. I imagine myself in the middle of making love on a sailboat as large as Italy. This is what happened to me this summer. Living your fantasies is for me a good example of a successful life.”
L’amour et la violence : “It’s the title which sums up what I’ve lived through in the most profound way. It shows that the rest of the album is a huge fantasy where I’m searching for intensity in the superficial. With «Love and Violence», I’m finally revealing myself – I have neither the skin of a stallion nor a virgin, I’m naked and I ask that people judge me as I really am.”