It all began in Berlin, on an air traffic controller strike day. As he was unwillingly suspended in this “ space of possibilities ”, Nicolas Comment started writing and composing his first record. Music and words had always been there for him, even if images had usually took over. Good news arose as he got to Paris, as Rodolphe Burger agreed on lending him his recording studio, thus giving him the opportunity to record a few demo tracks. Nicolas then locked himself up with friends in an Alsatian farm, and reappeared fifteen days later with ten or so tracks. His first record was born. Entitled Est-ce l’Est ? (Berliner Romanze), it was produced by Jean-Louis Piérot (Les Valentins, Daho, Miossec, etc.) who fell for Nicolas Comment’s melodies and words. The record is a book/disc combo exclusively distributed in bookshops.
Shortly after, Nicolas discussed with writer Patrick Bouvet (In Situ, Shot) about his will to move on to the next project, and he pretty soon started working on a rather radical project with Marc Collin: Pulsion phantom. This record mixes sound artifacts with new-wave culture and fantasy films, a genre where Nicolas will soon perform opposite Helena Noguerra. This unexpected encounter between the young artist and the Nouvelle Vague producer soon led both men to a little restaurant of the Île de la Cité in Paris where they agreed on recording a new album in a month time.
Among the 25 demo tracks, Marc Collin soon set his heart on the ones where Nicolas sings in talk-over in a careful rhythm and – Berlin oblige – along the beautiful sensory machines of German Motorik (Neu!, La Düsseldorf, etc.). The song Je te vœux, written on one night in Marseille with Xavier Waechter (his bassist accomplice), sets the tone of the album. One could think of a Gainsbourg record produced by the Cure or by Martin Hannett…
As soon as you embrace them, Nicolas Comment’s audacious songs impose a feeling that keeps growing. These imposing, sharp and classy tracks evoke Manset driving a lynchian Porsh (La ferme en flammes), the overexposed landscapes of Phillipe Garrel’s frames (Campagne dernière), or Suicide Girls on a spree among the ruins of an English garden (Le désert de Retz)… Nicolas Comment curls himself up his sentences, wrapping in the velvet fabric of his semantic field: “ le ruban de la route aurait-on pu dire filait dans le rouleau d’une machine à écrire ” (as if the road strip was spinning in the typewriter ribbon ).
Marc Collin’s production and vintage synthesizers beat the captive and kamikaze body of these French songs into submission, to the sound of über-alles pop (Nous étions Dieu). “ A point saignante ou bleue ouverte ” (Medium, rare or very rare ), Nicolas Comment’s words of desire cross the border of the verse while drawing it anew. One can even hear the verse beg in an ingenuous plea: “ Ne me mets pas nue ” (Don’t get me bare ). As in a Bresson’s film, the echoes and silences of the melody entrust the listener with the authoring of the work and the imagining of the mise-en-scène: a duel with foil where words and music, naked on a pedestal, struggle as perfect rivals and against some kind of ideal…Fabrice Delmeire,
Editor-in-chief of Rif Raf magazine,
Nicolas Comment is also a photographer. He is represented by the agency and gallery Vu’, and published numerous books with Filigranes Publications.
Est-ce l’Est ? (Berliner Romanze), Filigranes Publications, 2008.