lundi 30 juin 2008

Rebel with a Hammer

Yesterday night, I went to a Demolition Party. A crazy idea from two friends: Alex, the owner of Le Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris and Phillipe Starck, the famous designer/ architect.

It was a total surrealistic event « à la Marcel Duchamp ». The Hotel was falling apart and Alex asked Starck to redo it. Then they decided to throw a big party and to allow every guest to destroy walls, doors and more or less everything, with a hammer or any other instrument. At the same time you had art performances in various rooms, mini concerts, DJs and lots of other things. It was overcrowded, mad and quite fun..

Today, I spent some time with Stephanie, my sister, who is a talented scenograph for Theater and TV. We visited Penningen, the Art school where she studied, to watch the projects which every student has to achieve at the end of the fifth year. Some of them were just brilliant.

Then I went back home where I spent the rest of the evening experimenting with the Tenori-on, an fun new instrument from Yamaha.

An army of destroyers.

Ara Starck, my son David, me, Philippe Starck and his wife Jasmine.

An exhausted destroyer.

Attack, Decay, Sustain

I feel priviledged to have so many interesting people following my work, having attended to so many concerts all around the world for a long time. Thanks to all of you.

I recently spent some time with some of them, notably Mark G (the first founder of the U.K. Fan club, before Duncan Walls took the reins ) and the people from to discuss about revamping my website: Jacob Gunness, Claus Lundholm, dear Signe Zacchi and Ras Bolding, Henrik Gilvad and everybody. Thomas Alsina and the Aero team, Fiona Commins and Louis Hallonet were there as well. I really enjoyed the discussion. Through the years, we have established a good link far beyond the usual "Artist / Fans" one..

Actually, these days, I consider the core of fans much more as part of a club of people sharing the same values, tastes..etc and it is along this mindset that I would like to develop the web site in the future. We exchanged a lot of ideas to improve it, starting from the fact that I have never been really satisfied by my websites so far, being often designed by record companies mainly based on direct marketing around the current album, as is the case for a lot of artists. I really want to change that..
We are thinking about many things, i'll let you know..

This week, I also met M. Matsura, Director General of UNESCO and Vice Director Marcio Barbosa to discuss the Concert in Canary islands in 2009, the International Year of Astronomy. The project should happen under the banner of UNESCO and involve a lot of different sectors, quite exciting....

M. Matsura suggested that I should be "Special" UNESCO Ambassador for the International Year of Astronomy.. I contacted Garik Israelian and Brian May to let them know about all this. Both of them were very happy about the news,

(Brian is currently very busy with the Mandela Concert in London with Queen. He actually should be on stage at the moment...)

This concert related to Space and the stars is a great and unique project for me and obviously I'll keep you posted.

I do think it is time to re-evaluate our link with space.

Like I was saying on stage during the last tour, our vision of the future has changed. In the the 60's, everybody had a rather innocent view of it, full of hopes and dreams. 2001 was ahead of us, the Arthur C. Clarke's novel and the Stanley Kubrick's movie managed to create a rather epic vision of the future and influenced an entire generation, and for the first and the last time so far, a man walked on the Moon...

Today, 2001 is behind us, it is as if Sci-Fi and our vision of the future was behind us. We have much narrower and somber feelings about the next century. Our vision and hopes have shrunk: Are we going to survive on our polluted planet?...etc.

It is probably time to consider our planet in a different context, it is probably time to listen to Astronomers and Astrophysicists, to tell our children how great it can be to get a better understanding of Earth exploring, watching and listening at the Universe.

It is the reason why the International year of Astronomy is important and the reason why this concert is exciting.

I then met Mark Richmond, in charge of the "Sustainable Development Decade" at UNESCO. He asked me how I could help promoting his program. I told him that in my humble opinion, the main difficulty is to make people understand what it means and the first step should be to find a simple and clear definition for it. I mentioned this exercise we had at the University: trying to resume a book or an idea in one page, one paragraph, one sentence, one word. What could it be for "sustainable development?

I also gave the exemple of this great speech this young girl did at United Nations ( see my 24-06-08 blog post). Chidlren have a natural respect and an instinctive strong link with Nature, but it seems to decrease, if not disappear, as soon as we become adults.

First of all, instead of complaining, giving lessons and feeling guilty, we should send a clear message with simple words and remedies. Mostly everybody today is keen on doing something, but when we're told that we have to "save the planet", it is suddenly a bit too big for an individual's shoulders, and daunting. We need a bunch of simple acts which anybody could do easily every day, every week...

I also suggested to launch on You Tube a big video competition. I could create, for instance a 2-minute piece of music on which anyone could express one positive idea about the environment, in any way, film, photos, animation...

Mark Richmond said he is going to work with his team on few bullet points in order to clarify the term "sustainable development" and was very positive about the You tube idea, saying that it could be linked with the World Conference they hold in Bonn next year.

jeudi 26 juin 2008

La crème de la crème

I have been pretty busy the past few days.

I spent quite a lot of time last week with the european and french Apple teams at the occasion of the opening of their new
offices in central Paris. It has been an opportunity to discuss future projects with the music, photo and video teams at Apple and with my friend Thomas Alsina, who works in their R&D.

I also had a great time with Pascal Cagni, head of Apple Europe, Africa, Middle East and others. I like his clear vision of new media technology, his intuition for new ideas, his open mind.. a brilliant and nice human being... We also spent some time with Thomas, exploring cameras and new lenses that I would like to use for a special project involving new music with photos and videos on the net.

That same week, by coincidence, I met various people involved in copyright issues, piracy, etc.

First, I have been invited by the U.S. Embassy to discuss the future of music and visual art forms on internet, the future of copyrights and authors rights in the context of multimedia works... At lunch time, I had some good time with Nicolas Seydoux, a great figure in the french and international film industry.

Then I met with John Kennedy, President of the IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry) who asked me to become spokesman for the artists in Brussells, like 5 years ago, to try to explain to european policy makers that musicians are not simple content providers and that music like anything else, more than anything, has a special value and deserve specific care ...

And finally I met with my dear friends from SACEM, the French Authors Rights Society, its President Bernard Miyet, Louis Dirringer and Laurence Bony to discuss about this project of law for protecting music on internet...

I did not sleep much because I also made a lot of music during the nights.

Claude Samard sent me an interesting link on the new guitar by Moog Music. I listened to the new "Christophe", the new "Coldplay "and the new "Sigur Ross " and I like all of them for differenf reasons..

mercredi 25 juin 2008

Message to the world

Today I just want to share this with you...

mercredi 18 juin 2008

Back from Tenerife

Canary Islands are not only a famous destination for getting sun and drinking beer, it has also amongst the most extraordinary landscapes in the world. After La Palma and its amazing observatory, we went yesterday to Teide, the other observatory with solar telescopes, at around 3000m. of altitude.
It looks like a martian village.
The natural park around is also extraordinary, made of tortured rocks red, brown and black. If La Palma observatory looked like a friendly moon, this place seems to belong to a distant planet out from our solar system. They filmed here part of the Empire Strikes Back and Planet of Apes. Another stunning place for a concert.
We discussed with the local government about the unique opportunity to put together such a project for their country. We left the following morning after having discussed different ideas for the concert with Gary. I am also keeping the contact, obviously, with Brian May while he is very busy with the starting of the new Queen world tour. This journey has been very inspiring for the coming music and concerts projects.

Gary, me and the clouds

Mirror to the sky

R2D2's father

Inside the dome

Trying to repair

(posted on a mobile phone)

mercredi 11 juin 2008


I am in the Canary Islands for a concert project for 2009, the U.N. Year for Astronomy, with Brian May, former guitarist of Queen and now an astrophysician.
Today we visited the site where the biggest telescope has just been built, with Doctor Garik Israelian, an Astrophysician like Brian.
He is currently making some research on acoustic Astronomy and on the sounds produced by the stars.
He asked me to create a concert with Brian May at the Observatory of the Canary Islands, a unique place above the clouds.

(Photo from Flickr - JMJ didn't send his own yet)

(posted on a mobile phone)

lundi 9 juin 2008

Introducing new old ladies

Original Syntar and ARP Quadra

CRUMAR Multiman S and brown Moog Liberation

Roland CR-8000

Ace Tone Rythm Ace

ARP ProSoloist (thanks to JC), MFB and a rare Eminent Solina

(posted on a mobile phone)

dimanche 8 juin 2008

Elephant Man

(This text is a video transcript)
It's been quite a few days since I didn't give any news on the blog. I've been pretty busy and I'm going back to the blogger's life step by step in the next few days. I've been very busy with Unesco, I spent two days last week as a moderator for the annual sessions of the ambassadors. I would like to welcome a new ambassador, Pr Jean Malaurie. He's a brilliant man, an ethnologist specialised in the arctic world. We discussed the possibility of doing a concert near the North Pole or maybe in the northern part of Iceland, and we're talking about this taking place within the next two or three years.
I've been to a very interesting exhibition by Ara Starck. She's Philippe Starck's daughter and she's holding an exhibit in Paris, based on a kind of oil painting but with a very strange process, something like a moving oil painting. As you move your head around, the expression of the faces evolves.
Also I've been very busy choosing and finding new analog instruments, and we'll attach some photos of them. Through the internet, through different people in Europe and America, I found very rare and special analog synthesizers and I'm going to use them for my next musical project, which I'm going to start actually this very afternoon. It's composed of an ARP Quadra, a Solina, a very rare portable keyboard called the Syntar, developed more or less at the same time as the Moog Liberation, a Crumar, an Italian string and brass, and also a Roland CR-8000 drum machine. I was looking for this drum machine for quite a while and I finally found it in Amsterdam. So all these instruments are gathered at home, and I'm about to start a new project based on those, plus some other existing instruments I have in the studio as well.
So that's it for now, I'm off to lunch with Thomas and Pierre now, at the Palais de Tokyo, where we saw a rather unusual exhibition with a roaring name, "Superdome", so we would think that it's going to be very spectacular. Actually, it's composed of five artists, some of them interesting, some of them less so, and there is a surprise on the blog with a picture of an elephant which you will see below this. See you later!
I'm getting better at kung-fu!

Stocking up on art books