A few years back I was trawling You Tube (a far too regular occurrence now a days) looking for a Music Video from a band that a colleague had raved about and told me I should give it a look over. Whilst this search continued, I came across a fan video for an artist I have loved since my early teens. The artist in question was Nick Cave and the song was O Children from his 2004 album Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. The reason I mention this is I was surprised at many of the comments- some quite vicious, towards a couple of people who had mentioned they had first heard this song when it appeared in one of the Harry Potter films. The basis of many of these comments were that; by discovering a much loved song via a children’s film, didn’t give them to right to cherish this song as much as they ( who had known about Nick and his back catalogue for many years ) do. This to me is utterly absurd. Surely how you discover a song or band is irrelevant, the fact you’ve discovered it and you love it is enough.
Now I’ve got that off my chest I first heard Woodkid in an advert for a computer game ( Ubisofts 2011 release Assassins Creed Revelations. ) Yes I am a computer geek and gamer. Don’t hold that against me. The song that featured was Iron released on an EP in early 2011.
Woodkid aka Yoann Lemoine is a French music video director and graphic designer who has worked with artists like Lana Del Ray and The Mystery Jets, directing the Born To Die and Dreaming of Another Day videos as well as the Take Care video for Drake and Rihanna. His films are distinctive with a real feeling of storytelling behind them this has most definitely translated into his music with an almost soundtrack-like edge. Sweeping orchestral lines under pinned by a driving drum beat are a pre cursor to a voice that can only be described as unique. With a gentle French accented lilt it may not be to everyone’s taste but I find a truth to it, (some compare it to Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons fame) with powerful sometimes moving lyrics and a gentle approach it makes you listen. With remixes by the likes of The Mystery Jets and Gucci Vump ( an outfit made up by two members of The Shoes) the title track is given an interesting twist. However the highlight of this record for me is the track Baltimore Fireflies a song that has a feeling of being swept along in an almost uplifting way with a lyric that can only be described as dark.
A second EP Run Boy Run was released in 2012 and continues with the narrative laid down in Iron which has certainly kept me eager for more. O2 used the title track from this record in its advertising campaign towards the back end of 2012. The title track again has a story like video which only aids to lift the song into the realms of epic.
Now with two EP’s under his belt the time is right for a debut album. This will come in the shape of The Golden Age in March 2013. It features the title tracks of the previous two EP’s (should recycling of this kind be frowned on? Not when its of this quality!) and 12 new tracks. The Deluxe Edition comes with a limited edition hand numbered screen print and is in the style of a Black Hardcover Book, with embossed lettering and a 132 page short story written by Woodkid himself. Illustrations by Jillian Tamaki @dirtbagg and will be released on Green United Music in Paris. http://www.greenunitedmusic.com.
It certainly looks beautiful and with what I’ve heard already and seen with the quality of his music videos Woodkid is fast becoming one of my favourite artists. I can’t wait to hear and see what he can come up with on The Golden Age and in the future.
So, if it weren’t for the guys and gals at Ubisoft and Ezio Auditore di Firenze (gamer knowledge needed) I wouldn’t be aware of Woodkid or his magnificent output. After all, just because we weren’t there at the beginning it doesn’t make us any less devoted listeners….