Musique Sans Paroles is the debut solo offering from Pierre Rousseau. A careening Parisian police siren provides a melodic set and setting for a newly fashioned brand of romantic instrumental music to illuminate. Breezing between earnest orchestration and radiant dance tracks, Musique represents a return to Rousseau’s creative fountainhead; the influences, the instruments, and the city at the doorway of the artist’s origin story reopened.
As one half of Paradis, Rousseau set a precedent, and defined a moment, with the immaculately produced, French pop house that helped launch Beats In Space Records. His solitary pursuit began as the beloved duo entered a period of dormancy, Rousseau searching for purpose in a foggy future. Under the clouds of self-doubt which often accompany new beginnings, he focused outward and contributed his talents to disparate collaborative projects, producing records for other artists, composing soundtracks for films, soundscapes for contemporary visual; working with writers, designers and artists.
Through these collaborations, Rousseau expanded his understanding of sound, synthesis, recording, and narrative composition. He sought an outlet for this new awareness, an artistic communion with the craft in this new, independent stage of his creative journey. Meditating on ubiquitous themes of dedication, timelessness, and transmission surrounding him on a trip through Japan, Rousseau returned to Paris and switched on his first synthesizer, a Roland Juno 106. Its signal path instantly reconnected him with the naïve spirit of early music making, and the pairing of playfulness and confidence allowed him to compose the six pieces of Musique in just as many weeks.
Musique follows the trajectory of compositional innovators Erik Satie and Maurice Ravel, whose influences color, if not carry, so many sixties French film scores, Japanese Synth-pop and late 20th century Belgian, German and UK sounds, before reaching Rousseau. Through this maze we feel the profound impression of Gerald Donald’s dynamic, aqueous and stingingly emotive influence, and the drifting mystique of Air, whose Nicolas Godin wrote the bassline for “Souvenir” during an early session.
The album includes contributions from additional people and places: the opening title track features a short vocal recording by Mana Haraguchi introducing the album, and field recordings from the streets of Paris and Tokyo. “Pastorale” features a drone improvised by sound engineer Zak on his EMS Synthi at his Studio St-Robo. Pristine mastering from Adrien Pallot and Joseph Bird’s videos, or “photographs with a pulse,” provide the final touches.
Intent to create emotive music without lyrics and “retain the elegance of minimalism, with the ambition of maximalism,” these outer, and inner, communions allow Musique Sans Paroles to speak volumes without speaking at all.