Things to do on a winter night

Things to do on a winter night, possibly when slightly feverish and a bit woozy and out of it from any number of drugs: sit or lie in the dark (on a comfortable rug in front of a blazing fire, if available), put on headphones (so as not to disturb the sleeping fellow inhabitants of the house, and for a greater feeling of intimacy) and listen to Indochine’s Nuits Intimes – I got the CD for Christmas and have listened to it any number of times since, in various settings (on a train, as background music while writing, on the go on the iphone, … ), but the name is definitely defining for it, and it is best suited to, well, intimate listening at night, and less to bright sunshine and crowded trains or excercise, or … .

It contains acoustic versions of both Indochine classics and (at the time of its recording) current Indochine songs, ranging from minimal instrumentation with just one guitar to more elaborate arrangements, but they all, throughout their simplicity or elaborateness, manage to remain – intimate, for lack of a better word. I personally like the slower and more pensive pieces, as well as the less instrumentalized ones better than the more uptempo and more elaborate ones, but they’re all lovely acoustic and personal versions.

Indochine for me are definitely a case of music discovered via modern media – I remember catching 20 minutes or so of a documentary about them late one night while zapping channels (must have been on ARTE I think) and being intrigued by some of the clips they showed – intrigued enough to look around for some clips on youtube and in other places, and first listening to them via the things I found online. Which led me to acquiring physical copies of their albums, as well as bying mp3 versions of some of their back catalogue (Itunes makes that really really easy), and to me now following them on facebook waiting for tour dates to be announced (they’re playing two gigs, in the middle of next week, in Paris. Not helpful! Though, I admit, if it weren’t term time that might be a different story …). I don’t think I would have gone and tried to find a CD in a shop from the brief glimpse on TV. I might have, but the action threshhold would have been much greater (write name down, trundle off to shop where chances are high no CD would have been available, as I don’t think Mannheim is high on French (new wave) rock (I was still living in Mannheim when I first encountered them), have one ordered blind, trundle back to shop, listen, …), and I am glad that wasn’t tested, as I would probably have missed out on some lovely music that way.

There used to be a lovely shop in Mannheim for CDs, though, call Prinz (which since closed down [because of some problems with their rental contract, AFAIK]). Its where I first listened to (and failed to buy) Stockhausen’s Helicopter String Quartet. Which they had readily available, come to think of it. So maybe I am doing them an injustice thinking they wouldn’t have had any Indochine. I am pretty sure that no record store in Flensburg currently has an Indochine record, though. Will check that theory when I am next in the city.

And, uh, in case you’re curious about Indochine now, here’s a link to their official youtube channel. (Some of the videos even work in Germany, no thanks to the GEMA [they’re blocking 95% of an official channel intended to exist by the band and its management as advertisement … kind of counter-productive, non?] Never mind…).

 If you can get them to work, check out ‘J’ai demandé à la lune’ for one of my favourite Indochine songs, or ‘L’aventurier’ for one of their most famous ones.






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