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Biography

Louis Philippe (born Philippe Auclair on 24 June, 1959) first recorded for Belgian label Les Disques du Crepuscule, under the names 'The Border Boys' (the 'Tribute' 12" EP, produced by Andy Paley, who'd worked with The Ramones and the Modern Lovers previously), and 'The Arcadians' (one single and one album, 'It's a Mad, Mad World', 1986, later re-released on a variety of labels as 'Let's Pretend'). On the advice of A&R man Mike Alway, Louis Philippe moved to London in late 1986, and soon became one of the major figures of cult indie label él Records (1986-1989), a subsidiary of Cherry Red Records for which he recorded five singles and three albums ('Appointment With Venus', 1987; 'Ivory Tower', 1988; 'Yuri Gagarin', 1989). He also appeared in one guise or another - as songwriter, arranger, backing vocalist or instrumentalist - on more than half of all the label's releases. él, now considered to be one of the most influential labels of its time, was, however, not a commercial success in the UK; but it scored a string of independent hits in Japan, where Louis Philippe (whose 'You Mary You' was él's best-selling single) became an iconic figure for the so-called Shibuya-kei, or 'Shibuya Sound'.

Following the demise of él in 1989, he turned to Japan to pursue his career, with the support of celebrity fans such as Cornelius. A number of albums followed, all of them released on the über-chic Trattoria label: 'Rainfall', 1991; 'Jean Renoir', 1992, both of them recorded with multi-instrumentalist Dean Brodrick; 'Delta Kiss', 1993; 'Sunshine', produced by Bertrand Burgalat, 1994; 'Jackie Girl', 1996, the first of his records to feature XTC guitarist Dave Gregory; 'Azure', recorded with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, and 'Nusch', a collection of Francis Poulenc mélodies, 1999. All these albums were conceived and realised with the help of long-time collaborator, pianist and double-bassist Danny Manners. Trattoria's help enabled him to find licenses for these records, first in France, Britain and Spain, then in the USA, where he'd assembled a limited but devoted fanbase. These critically well-received records consolidated his 'cult' status in the indiepop world; a couple of them charted: 'L'Hiver te va bien' reached the Top 30 in France in 1994, while 'She Means Everything To Me' reached the no.1 spot on the Campus Radios Charts in the USA in 1998, following an appearance at New York's CMJ Music Marathon. However, crossover success still proved, and proves elusive, despite the accessibility of his music and the regard he's held in among pop connoisseurs.

Collaborations

Louis Philippe has enjoyed a parallel career as an arranger, producer and instrumentalist since the late 80's. The artists he's worked with, or for, include Valerie Lemercier, April March, P.J. Proby, Martin Newell, Nina Morato, Cinnamon, Laïla Amezian, La Buena Vida, The Clientele and many others. A collaboration of note was the album '9th & 13th' (Tricatel, 2001), in which he teamed up with Danny Manners and novelist Jonathan Coe, to produce musical settings for the latter's writings. Jonathan Coe, who'd contributed the sleevenotes to 'Azure', and had used a verse of his song 'Yuri Gagarin' as an epigraph for his best-seller 'What a carve up!', has also written a number of lyrics for him since 'My Favourite Part of You' (2002).

Recent Projects

Louis Philippe has lately been working with ex-Young Marble Giants leader Stuart Moxham, with whom he regularly plays live, and now runs his own record label, Wonder Records, in London. His latest releases include 'My Favourite Part of You' (2002) and 'The Wonder of it All' (2004). A live album was released in February 2007, and a new studio album, provisionally entitled 'An Unknown Spring' should be completed by the spring of the same year.

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