ARANDEL, the French artist whose album of expansions and reinterpretations – often, complete genre reshapings – of the works of the great Johann Sebastian, InBach, received deserved acclaim upon its release early last year, is looking to repeat that cultural success with a second volume released today.
With that album out to purchase right now, he’s released the Air-gone-classical-like spacepop of “Fabula”, all cyber-being autotune caress and dramatic string harmony swell, with vocals from electronic pop French singer Scalde, and cello from fellow InFiné artist Gaspar Claus – who’s got his own intriguing album in the pipeline.
“There is a Bach for everyone,“ Aran says, “and that discovery is what led me here to InBach.” Push through the towering legend and godlike adoration and Arandel insists he was both a playful and eclectic musician. And the canon is so large, there was more than enough material and ideas to revisit the idea.
“There is so much about Bach I didn’t even know when making the first one – but after the release people kept coming to me, telling me about certain pieces I should listen to or rework; songs that I had never even heard of,” he comments.
The second InBach grew like a garden in melodic fantasy, intricate state-of-the-art sound design and a little pop sensibility. Some tracks were born out of Arandel’s band performing on stage, experimenting and composing them anew, such as “Nos Contours”, a new, French-lyric version of “Bodyline” from the first outing and featuring Arandel’s live partner, Ornette.
Elsewhere on InBach vol.2, you’ll find further reinterpretations such as “Doxa Notes”, a reworking of “Aux Vaisseaux”, from InBach – itself which was already a reinterpretation of Bach’s 14 Canons On The Goldberg Ground, BWV 1087, now featuring Myra Davies.
‘The album naturally evolved out of the work on the first one, the connections I made with Bach’s music and the connections that listeners made with him through me,” Arandel details.
“I was a longterm fan of Myra’s work, and when we connected for InBach vol.2, we spent hours on a video call, talking about everything from the relation between quantum physics and metaphysics, our lives and Bach’s music.”
Rare instruments feature heavily, such as the Erard square piano, and early electronic instruments such as the ondioline and the ondes Martenot – four tracks featuring that obscure and beautifully singing early electronic instrument courtesy Thomas Bloch, who’s worked with Radiohead, Marianne Faithful and Tom Waits.
“He said yes right away, which was a pleasant surprise, considering he has worked with so many major artists in his career.” noted a pleased Arandel.
There’s also spoken word, with the closing track being recited by none other than The Perfumed Garden-era John Peel folk legend Bridget St John.
When she was invited to contribute to the project, she replied with a quote from the French writer André Gide: “You can’t discover new land if you aren’t willing to lose sight of every shore,” – which stands as an excellent epithet for the now-two volumes of InBach.
There’s also a track in celebration and memoriam to Arandel’s own brother, who died during the isolating period of the hard early lockdowns last year; collaborator and organist on the first volume, Sébastien Roué told of the “Capriccio Sopra La Lontananza Del Suo Fratello Dilettissimo, Adagiosissimo”, BWV 992, a slow movement Bach wrote for his parting brother. Thus “Capriccio” was the first song Arandel wrote for the new record in touching farewell.
Arandel also has a brace of live dates lined up in support of the album’s release: on Friday, July 9th, he’ll be appearing at the Days Off Festival at the Philharmonie de Paris, with Quatuor Émana, Ben Shemie, Barbara Carlotti, Emmanuelle Parrenin, and Julien Gasc; and two days later, July 11th, he’ll be at the Nuits de Fourvière festival in Lyon, where he’ll appear with Flore, Ornette, Quatuor Émana, Barbara Carlotti, Emmanuelle Parrenin and Julien Gasc. Get yourself there – if you can.
Arandel’s InBach vol.2 is released by InFiné today, July 2nd, digitally, on CD and on vinyl and may be ordered from the label’s Bandcamp page, here.