|Sabina — Toujours (2014)|
Sabina — Toujours
ο→ The singer of avant–garde electro–punk outfit Brazilian Girls, Sabina Sciubba is a multi–lingual artist whose music transcends both space and time. Across no less than five different languages, her straight talking debut solo album Toujours is a compelling, intimate, narcotic dreamscape you might call The Parisienne Velvet Underground and Nico, with a surprising sense of humour.
Location: New York City, NY
Release date: 24 March 2014
Record Label: Naim Records
Catalogue number: NAIMCD198
01 Cinema 3:51
02 Viva L'Amour 3:05
03 Long Distance Love 3:59
04 Mystery River 3:21
05 The Sun (feat. Adanowsky) 3:18
06 Non Mi Aspettare 3:55
07 Toujours 3:21
08 Tabarly 3:48
09 Sailor's Daughter 4:01
10 Fields of Snow 3:25
11 I Won't Let You Break Me 3:33
12 Going Home 4:51
ο→ Sabina — Vocals, guitars, organ
ο→ Frederik Rubens — electric bass, keyboard and mixing
ο→ Cbasa Palotai — electric guitar
ο→ Roch Havet — Fender rhodes
ο→ Clement Amirault — trombone
ο→ Valentin Meylan — trumpet
ο→ Albert Levsink — trumpet
ο→ Aaron Johnston — drums
ο→ Patrick Goraguer — drums
οο Produced and recorded by Frederik Rubens and Sabina at Akirira and Davout Studios.
οο Mastered by Ue Nastasi at Sterling Sound, New York.
οο All titles written and composed by Sabina, except T1 by Sabina and Frederik Rubens, T8 by Sabina and Barry Reynolds and T12 by Sabina, Csaba Palotai and Frederik Rubens.
οο Toujours was written on guitars in Paris and produced by Brazilian Girls' producer Frederick Rubens. It is New York, new-wave carousing with Serge Gainsbourg, an art–punk, multi–lingual, Marlene Dietrich hypnotising the hobos in a Weimar Republic dive–bar. A lingering side–ways glance at contemporary life, opening track 'Cinema' laments cultural decline, likening the fall of movies to "an old whore who has lost her charms". On the track 'Toujours', meanwhile, she decides "we might as well be happy", the song's DIY, semi–animated video a homage to Pythonesque surrealism, with Sabina on a donkey, playing a ukulele, a star around her head, wearing nothing but a goofy smile.
οο This is not what we expect from a femme fatale and is in part a rejection of today's sexually aggressive, physically "perfect" pop sirens.
οο "Hard to imagine a better poster girl for polyglot New York pop than Sabina." — The New York Times
οο "Glamorous" — Rolling Stone
οο "Popular culture's in a deep coma," declares Sabina Sciubba, hither to known for fronting New York electro–gonks Brazilian Girls, Standing up for making your own entertainment, she emerges as Sabina with her solo debut Toujours. An effervescent, boho mix of elegantly mutold dance–pop and post–punk art–moods recorded in Paris, within the multi–lingual German–Italian chanteuse skirts levity with seriousness, a thread of seafaring intrigue running throughout. One song reflects on life's predicament via the famously taciturn French mariner Eric Tabarly. "I love Tabarly's integrity" she says, "Journalists asked him long questions and he answered in one syllable. Unlike me". — Ian Harrison, MOJO Magazine
οοο The first solo album Toujours from critically lauded artist and performer Sabina will be released 24th March on Naim Edge Records. The co–founding member of the Grammy–nominated Verve/Universal-signed Brazilian Girls, best known by Naim Label fans for her stunning duet with legendary italian guitarist Antonio Forcione in 1997, the debut record rediscovers Sabina's unique voice, anthemic songwriting, and her signature multi–lingual story–telling, albeit this time within a quite different musical setting.
οοοο Toujours was recorded, produced and arranged by Sabina as well as Brazilian Girls producer Frederik Rubens. Of the recording process, Sabina notes, "Toujours was very organic. It took over a year, on and off. I only recorded when I was really inspired and I kept what I felt was absolutely necessary. I didn't want any redundant ornamentation, never more than four elements at a time. I suppose some would call me a control freak, but on the other hand it's completely imperfect, and low–fi, like me. I'm a control freak about keeping things dirty." The new music is inspired by the rock and pop classics of the ‘60s and ‘70s but within more contemporary recording techniques.
οοοο Born in Rome to a German mother and an Italian father, Sabina lived in Italy, Germany, then France before arriving in the U.S. She lived in New York City for a decade before returning to Paris, where she now resides. Her own story is really what set the background for her sound. "I left my origins and roamed far and wide, I'll always be a nomad I suppose, but, as weird as it may sound, whenever I was on an airplane above any other continent than Europe, I thought ‘oh, please don't let me die here.' I'm a real European, I want to die here," she explains.
οοοο "I photographed myself naked, sitting on a closet, like a French dresser," she laughs describing the DIY semi–animated video for the album's title–track. Paying homage to Pythonesque surrealism it sees Sciubba riding a donkey whilst playing a ukulele, wearing nothing but a smile. "The actual photos are ridiculous. My older son was looking at me like, 'oh no, she's lost it'."
οοοο Equally adept at casting opinion as well as writing songs, Sciubba is a modern day heroine, skilled in the art of elegant seduction. Cut from the same rebellious cloth as other uncompromising femme fatales Patti Smith or Madonna, whilst channelling the visual impact of Grace Jones and Bjork (one billowing outfit appeared to be a ventilation shaft, made of crepe), she is a fearless woman, whose passion for speaking her mind — in German, Italian, French, Spanish, and English — only enhances her sophisticated lo–fi pop music.
οοοο Born in Rome to German and Italian parents, raised in Munich and Nice, and discovered in Hamburg at age 19 by virtuoso guitarist Antonio Foricone before relocating to New York to lend her stunningly sultry vocals to Brazilian Girls (incidentally one girl — Sciubba — and no Brazilians), the new album was written on guitars in Paris and has found Sciubba reunited with Brazilian Girls producer Frederick Rubens.
οοοο Altogether Toujours is New York new–wave carousing with Serge Gainsbourg, an art–punk, Marlene Dietrich hypnotising the hobos in a Weimar Republic dive–bar. οοοο Casting a lingering sideways glance at contemporary life, opening track ‘Cinema' laments cultural decline, likening the fall of movies to "an old whore who has lost her charms" whilst it's easy to get lost in the meandering low-slung vocals and stripped back guitar of stoner melody ‘The Sun'. Elsewhere the brooding, gallows-funny ‘Fields Of Snow' is a love story set against austerity — a nod towards France's painful government cuts and an online world forcing a creative generation to give art for free.
οοοο "It's terrible," she despairs. "My circle of friends and I live in an upper scale neighbourhood — everybody is broke. And they don't admit it! I'm not starving but compared to five, eight years ago I definitely have much less money."
οοοο Therein lays the beauty of Toujours. Via the quirky cinematic style of Ennio Morricone and a classic voice mirroring Edith Piaf, regardless of language barriers, you always know what's implied: take her view on the internet — it is, she posits, a primal problem no–one could have foreseen; "The human reaction to movement and light is that you look at it," she notes. "The internet is the same: there's no way you can't look, it's so tempting. We should speak together, make music together, and learn instruments. My children, it's impossible to keep them away from YouTube. I was considering terrorism!"
οοοο Whilst Brazilian Girls was successful in shaking hips across American and European dance floors, Sciubba's solo project allows a moment to step back and truly appreciate the vocals of this unique and special artist. An old–school maverick spirit, Sciubba is a lifelong musical obsessive who, as a child, wanted "to marry Michael Jackson", before veering off into left–field jazz, Billie Holliday and global underground electro—pop. "I'm so extreme in my personality, I go very much all the way with what I like, until I overdose," she notes, rather tantalisingly.
οοοο Today she remains uncompromising, "too idealistic", maintaining her originality in the face of a traumatised, risk–averse music industry. For her, it's all about creative freedom — something she is set to unleash when she hits the road touring across Europe with a full band in tow throughout 2014.
By Rebecca Ostriker / Globe Staff / February 17, 2014
|Sabina — Toujours (2014)|