A tribute to Tony Allen, by Emma-Jean Thackray
It's not fair, we know, but some people, some lucky people, seem to waltz through life exuding a palpable, tangible, very real sense of cool. Weirdly, most of them seem to be French. One of those very, very cool Frenchmen — the kind of Frenchmen we'd definitely not be had we been born in Toulouse rather than Todmorden — is Nicolas Godin.
Godin is best known as one half of chillout supremos AIR, a group who soundtracked every dinner party/orgy (delete as applicable) of the late 90s with their world beating 'Moon Safari' LP. The group — completed by the wonderfully named Jean-Benoît Dunckel — have seamlessly blended library music, wistful 60s pop, bossa nova, jazz and electronica over the course of seven albums.
Before there was AIR, there was architecture. Godin studied at the Paris' École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Versailles and that interest in the built world hasn't left him. Joining the dots between Le Corbusier, classical composition and soundtracking every TV cookery programme broadcast between 1998-2002 isn't easy for everyone, but for Godin it seems to be a doddle.
Next month sees him appearing solo at London's Oval Space in support of his debut solo album — a set of classically tinged "enticing lyrical narratives" that sees him collaborate with the likes of Conan Mockasin, a French vocalist, and an Italian author. Oh, and Johann Sebastian Bach, whose compositions form the foundation of every track on the record.
Ahead of the album and the show, Godin's presented us with this list of his 10 favourite contemporary works inspired by classical music. Get some nice wine open, settle into your favourite chair, and get ready for an education.
You can also listen to Nicolas' selection seamlessly via our dedicated playlist.
01.The Divine Comedy Tonight We Fly
02.Serge Gainsbourg Initials BB
03. Lou Reed Street Hassle
04. David Bowie Life On Mars?
06. Klaus Nomi Cold Song
07. Emir Deodato Also Sprach Zarathustra
08. Miles Davis Sketches Of Spain
09. Wendy Carlos Music For The Funeral Of Queen Mary
10. Radiohead Exit Music (For A Film)
Nicolas Godin plays Oval Space on November 11th (tickets) and his album 'Contrepoint' is out now.