Three years after the appearance of his second effort, Philippe B is back with Variations Fantômes, the fruit of an intense introspection, out on Bonsound Records.
For this third opus, the singer-songwriter drew his inspiration from a number of classical composers. Robert Schumann, at the end of his life, claimed that the voices of past composers were instructing him what to play. As Philippe tells it, I tried to listen to what these famous ghosts - of Ravel, Strauss, Schubert, Vivaldi - had to say. Every aspect of their work was about exploration, introspection and reinterpretation. While trying to decipher what these things meant to him, his creative process was fuelled by the music itself. Samples, passages lifted from canonical pieces, melodies, anecdotes from the life of a composer, and even the titles of certain oeuvres all found their way onto the album.
Thematically, the lyrics on Variations Fantômes reflect the concerns of these classical works: beauty, melancholy, faith, love and death. Although impregnated with external influence, the songs remain personal. With his unique wordplay and his ability to create worlds through images, Philippe B weaves stories of passion, remorse and torment.
Philippe B pairs the poetic lyrics with a guitar-based modern folk that is both moving and intense. The result is a harmonious mix of samples, guitars, keys and violins, that veers between the rhythmic and the calm; above all, it's a musical dialogue between the singer-songwriter and the ghosts of the great composers.
To complement the album release, 14 photographers have each visually interpreted one of the songs on Variations Fantômes. The photos, included in the album booklet, will be shown at an exhibition at the OFF-Interarts gallery (5143/45 boul. Saint-Laurent, Montréal) from the 5th to the 8th of May.
Don't miss the album launch show, Thursday May 5th, 5:00 pm at the OFF-Interarts Gallery!
ABOUT PHILIPPE B
Known for his talents as a writer, composer and performer - notably hired by Pierre Lapointe - Philippe B's music is a folk hybrid in which samples and acoustic and electric frequencies are cleverly mixed together. Wanting to explore new artistic horizons, he recently took on the roles of musical director and performing musician for the show Raxon X: A True Decoy Story. In September of 2009, this multi-talented artist presented, alongside Sophie Cadieux, the multimedia show Phéromone(s), an intimate evening of words put to music and interpreted in various creative ways.
Since arriving on the scene as a solo artist in June 2005 with an eponymous folk-minimalist album, Philippe B has not ceased to seduce critics and fans alike. With a poetry at once earthy and celestial, he describes characters, places, and moments in time, capturing them in song form. Of his second album Taxidermie, out in 2008, Bande à Part wrote A beautiful disc that reveals the scope of Philippe B's melodic and lyrical talent. On his own or as a guitarist for others, Philippe has for the past few years been a regular on Quebec stages, notably at the Francofolies de Montréal and the Festival de Musique Emergente in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. With the release of his third album Variations Fantômes this coming May confirms Voir magazine's prediction from 2008: The future works of the singer-songwriter promise to be even more audacious, inventive and creative.