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Francois & The Atlas Mountains

Banane Bleue Monorail Exclusive

Domino Recording Co

Released: 26th February 2021

CD£10.99Out of Stock
LP - coloured vinyl£24.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched on Monday.

Monorail Exclusive with an original signed drawing by Frànçois. Each one is individual and taken from the Holly Golightly video. Blue vinyl.

Sometimes it’s necessary to take stock of where we are with an artist. We’ve been carrying records by Frànçois for about 15 years - cdrs and tapes, singles and albums. He goes back to the humble early days of a still functional sale or return folder which we would mark up every time he brought something new in for us, which was fairly often. At the time he was living in Glasgow - he lived in Bristol too and was part of the Movietone scene and collaborating with Rozi Plain and other friends too. Here, he was friends with Camera Obscura and their cohorts and sometimes played live with them - alas, he could not stand the Glasgow weather and eventually moved back to Bristol and then various destinations in Belgium, France and Morocco.

At the time it seemed like Frànçois had a romantic image of Glasgow which informed some of his music. Katrina and I saw him give a beautiful concert in Tchai-Ovna where his songs had a simplicity and directness which we loved. In a way it reminded me of pre-Belle & Sebastian concerts by Stuart Murdoch - slightly haphazard but with something really great in there. On Banane Bleue Frànçois revisits this feeling he had when he was younger. “Above all I tried to draw this new album with simple elements and clarity. I hope it will makes the air feel lighter around the people who will listen to it.” Some of the songs are from that time including Holly Golightly which was written for Tracyanne Campbell.

Banane Bleue is about intimate expressions and honesty and complicated ideas and spontaneity. It’s a map of things. The press release refers to a nomadic and truly European record, hailing from workspaces in some of the continent’s key cities - Berlin, Athens and Paris - and recorded with what was at hand and produced by Jaakko Eino Kalevi and mixed by Renaud Letang. The title of the album is quite interesting, the blue banana concept is a geographical theory that groups together a corridor of Europe’s biggest cities blurring these cities boundaries into one interconnected megalopolis (which cities in the UK are part of). If you look on the internet there are diagrams of this - Frànçois pictures it as a luminescent blue banana shape that you can see from space with vibrant, ethereal currents that surround and bind us. Banane Bleue explores common cultural and romantic ground full of missed meetings and misunderstandings.

Frànçois : “I have often asked myself what my relationship with history would be like if I had been born on another continent. Our idea of love, which comes from the 18th and 19th centuries, is ingrained in the walls and aromas of cities, cafes, nights out in bars, text messages, artificial lights, romantic getaways and city breaks; as if European electricity emitted some kind of romantic scent.”

Like our current album of the month, Notwist’s Vertigo Days, Banane Bleue is rooted in the inter-connectedness of all our lives - it’s nimble and prepared for the everyday chances that are presented to us. It feels like a different kind of record from more recent ones by Frànçois & The Atlas Mountains (all the records come out under this name no matter the cast) which were in places rowdy and North African influenced. This is calmer, a little more like those off the cuff Arthur Russell songs which stick with you forever. I told Frànçois that I was enjoying listening to the record on a beautiful winter’s day here in Glasgow. He said he could remember the colour of the stones and the way the city would look as the snow fell on it. Banane Bleue is all about details, it’s about remembering and capturing the magic of the everyday.

Stephen Pastel