It's been a long time a-coming... but Thunderclouds, the new album by Louis Philippe and The Night Mail, will be released on 11th December and is available to pre-order from Tapete Records now! Check out the video single for Fall In A Daydream.
Much of Louis's past work is now available on Bandcamp.
Last but not least, the long-awaited second collaboration between Louis and Stuart Moxham, The Devil Laughs, was released in July.
Stay safe... and solvent.
As some of you will know, Louis also enjoys a successful career as a football writer and broadcaster; too successful, perhaps, to allow him to devote as much time to music as he (and his fans) would like. This doesn't mean that he's been inactive in the studio for the past two years, far from it.
The most significant piece of news is that The Devil Laughs, his duet album with Young Marble Giant Stuart Moxham has now been completed - all done, bar the final mastering. Those familiar with the previous collaboration between the two musicians, The Huddle House, will think they have an inkling of what's to come - in which they are not necessarily right. Louis's role in The Huddle House was primarily that of a 'super-sidekick', providing vocals, guitar, vocal arrangements (plus a bit of bass and keyboards), but clearly deferring to Stuart when it came to define the album's ultimate shape. Not on this occasion. If all the songs, bar one (whose music was written by co-producer Ken Brake), have come from Stuart's pen to start with, their development and realization were the product of an equal partnership, Louis sharing lead vocals duties on several of the dozen new tunes which compose this album and taking care of most of the arrangements, as well as playing a number of instruments. Danny Manners - in his double bass-playing guise - was also a key member of the team behind The Devil Laughs, part of which was premiered at a one-off show at the Lexington on 30 October last year.
The album will be released either on Wonder Records or on a German label which has come forward to propose a more conventional type of distribution. A decision as to which option will be chosen will be taken within the next couple of weeks, after which it shouldn't be long at all before The Devil Laughs is made available to the general public.
Another project is nearing completion - Louise Le May's debut album, following the 2010 EP tell me one thing that is new, which earned the praise of a number of artists auch as Robert Wyatt, Van Dyke Parks, Sean O'Hagan and Eric Matthews. As was the case with tell me..., Louis has played a very important part in shaping and colouring the product of Louise's unique melodic gift, as arranger, instrumentalist, musical director and co-producer (with Ken Brake) of the project, in which Danny Manners (Louise's regular accompanist on stage) has also played a prominent role - as pianist and co-arranger as well as double bass player this time. All of the songs have now been recorded, half of which have been mixed already.
As reported earlier, Louis has also contributed string arrangements to Big Big Train's last two albums, English Electric Part One (2012) and Part Two (2013), which have both enjoyed remarkable success, critically as well as commercially. The first months of 2015 will see the release of another project to which he's been associated as a string arranger, singer-songwriter Ralegh Long's debut album. Last, in terms of collaborations, is Entrelacs, a song which sees Louis join forces with French band Orwell, to be released in the winter of 2014-15.
Work on Louis's next solo album (for which over thirty songs have been 'pre-demoed', in his own words) will start at Ken Brake's Regal Lane Studio immediately after all of these projects have been completed, that is this autumn. More details (track listing, list of collaborators) will be posted here soon.
The tenth (and last for now) in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss Live and An Unknown Spring, and cast a retrospective eye over Louis's career.
The ninth in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss collaborations with HaLo, Laila Amezian, Jonathan Coe, The Clientele, Louise Le May and Big Big Train.
The eighth in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss The Huddle House (with Stuart Moxham), My Favourite Part Of You and The Wonder Of It All.
The seventh in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss Azure and Nusch.
The sixth in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss The Off White Album (Martin Newell) and Jackie Girl.
After an extended hiatus, Louis has been back in the studio to resume work on Louise Le May's upcoming album. And he's planning to start his own next album in the autumn...
The fifth in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss Delta Kiss and Sunshine.
The fourth in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss Rainfall and Jean Renoir.
The third in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss Yuri Gagarin and the demise of él Records.
The second in the podcast series is now available. Louis and Danny discuss the heyday of él Records, including Appointment With Venus, Ivory Tower, and Louis's él labelmates.
Sunshine is having a relaunch...
It's been eleven years since the current site first appeared, and some modest refurbishment has been overdue for a while.
We're starting a fortnightly series of podcasts (the first one is available now) in which Louis discusses his career and music in general with longtime associate Danny Manners. You can subscribe, or listen to past episodes online.
The site has also been given a general spring clean. Some of the highlights are:
Louis Philippe news...
2011 and the beginning of 2012 have been a very busy time for Louis, football-wise, so music has had to take a back seat temporarily. However, he did perform a few gigs last year in London and Madrid, with Danny and Clientele frontman Alasdair MacLean. He also contributed to Bertrand Burgalat's new album, Toutes Directions, which we can thoroughly recommend, and wrote some string arrangements for Big Big Train, the Anglo-eclectic-prog band that features old friends David Longdon on vocals and Dave Gregory on guitar - their new album English Electric Vol. 1 is out in September, and has contributions from Danny on piano and double bass.
Louis is just finishing up his second football book, after which he hopes to start work on a new album and other musical projects.
Louis will be playing a short lunchtime set in London with Danny Manners and Alasdair MacLean:
12.00pm, Saturday 24th September
Two other acts are on the bill - David Tattersall/Howard Hughes, and The Vatican Cellars. Entrance is free, but there's a collection from the audience. Refreshments will be on sale. What more civilized way to spend a Saturday lunchtime in London...?
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the venue for the 15th June London gig has changed. Please see below for the new details. Advance booking is strongly advised!
Louis will be playing two support slots in London and a headlining gig in Madrid, featuring a new trio lineup with longtime collaborator Danny Manners on piano, and Alasdair MacLean (frontman of The Clientele) on guitar and backing vocals. We'd love to see you if you can make it!
2.00 pm, 12th June - The Hangover Lounge, London
At The Lexington, 96 Pentonville Road, London N1. Short acoustic set, supporting Amor de Dias, Alasdair's new project with Lupe Núñez-Fernández.
8.00 pm, 15th June - The Betsey Trotwood , London
Please note that this is a change of venue for this gig (which was originally scheduled to be at Arnold's in EC4). Audience capacity will only be 60. We strongly advise you to book in advance rather than turn up on the night and be disappointed! Advance tickets are £10 (£8 concessions) and can be bought from http://www.wegottickets.com.
10:00 pm, 2nd July - Nasti, Madrid
Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 33, Madrid. Headlining - support to be announced.
"The Ocean Tango" is out!
The long-awaited collaboration between Louis Philippe and Swedish art-pop conceptualists Testbild! can now be purchased on Bandcamp. You can buy an immediate download for £6 or CD+immediate download for £10. CDs will be despatched by 8th November, but either way you get the download now so you don't have to wait to hear the music!
An intoxicating blend of chamber pop and chamber jazz, The Ocean Tango is awash with trumpets, vibraphones, flutes, strings, harpsichord, Fender Rhodes, nylon guitar and the lushest of harmonies - all wrapped around elegantly tooled, constantly surprising melodies. Imagine a late-night session featuring the Beach Boys, Antonio Carlos Jobim, John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler, with a few electronic flourishes from Brian Eno, and maybe even the odd hint of the Canterbury Scene, and you’re getting close to the vibe...
Live London date, 12th November 2010
Following a successful gig with Danny at London's Heaven a few weeks ago, supporting Canadian indie band Stars, Louis will be appearing at the Luminaire, Kilburn, north London, on Friday 12th November, along with Louise Le May, Sean O'Hagan (The High Llamas), and Stuart Moxham (Young Marble Giants). Louis and Louise (!) will each be playing a duet set, accompanied by Danny; Sean and Stuart will be performing solo. And I'm sure there'll be some onstage musical cross-pollination too...
This has been a busy summer for Louis, much of which has been spent in the studio, working on two projects – starting with what will be a full-length album with Malmö-based Testbild!, with a number of sessions taking place in Sweden and in London. Louis has written a number of new tunes for this very ambitious collaboration, which sees both groups of musicians (Louis, Danny Manners and Ken Brake in one corner; Testbild! In the other) exchanging parts and arrangements, building up what promises to be one of the most adventurous records of Louis’s career. Further recording will take place in London in the autumn. No release date has been set yet, but all parties are hopeful that the album (working title: The Ocean Tango) will be out before the end of the winter.
A record that is out – and receiving praise from a number of pop’s genuine aristocrats (Van Dyke Parks, who called it ‘a triumph’, Sean O’Hagan, Eric Matthews, Fredo Viola) – is Louise Le May’s haunting ‘Tell me something that is new’. The (quite extraordinary) story of how Louis and Louise ended up working together is recounted in great detail on her website, www.louiselemay.com, where it is also possible to order the 7-track mini-album. Louis was involved throughout the whole recording as arranger and co-producer (with Ken Brake), and also contributed guitar, bass, percussion and keyboard parts, the ever-present Danny playing double-bass and piano.
‘As an arranger, I’ve never worked on a record that has given me so much pride’, Louis said – quite a statement when you think of the number of acts he’s been associated with over the years, from Anthony Adverse to The Clientele, or Matilde Santing to Valerie Lemercier. This record will be available in traditional shops (those which are left...) in a month or so, but, as mentioned above, can be ordered directly from Louise’s website as well as from her label (Folkwit) at: www.folkwit.biz. Excerpts of the songs can be listened to on both sites, while two of them (‘Be my Guru’ and ‘Photographic’) have been added to Louis’s own ‘stream’ player at: www.myspace.com/louisphilippemusic.
Can it have been that long since this page was updated? Yes it can. But Louis has not been idle, far from it. In June 2007, he joined the Clientele on their US Tour for two dates at New York's Bowery Ballroom and Boston's MOFS, playing keyboards and singing backing vocals. There has been the odd gig since then (the most notable being last summer at the Breminale, Bremen's annual music festival, headlining with The High Llamas), plenty of writing (including a new book, which will be published my Macmillan in August – more details about this later), and a fair amount of recording as well. Louis scored and conducted the string arrangements for the debut EP of Japanese psych-folk duo Humbert Humbert, 'Yoske' (MIDI Records). He also contributed a cover version of the Blueboy song 'Lazy Thunderstorms' for 'Country Music', a collection of songs in memory of their lead singer Keith Girdler (Siesta 234).
After being approached in late December 2008 by French film-maker Mikhaël Hers ('Primrose Hill'), Louis composed an instrumental piece inspired by Hers's evocation of Montparnasse as seen through the portrait of three young women. This theme will also feature prominently on his next project – as yet untitled – on which he's already started working (notably with French chanteuse Barbara Carlotti). While almost all the music has been written, it is bound to change shape during the recording process as, this time, Louis will call on Swedish band Testbild! to bring their own touch to his compositions.
And now, a promise: it won't be another year-and-a-half before this page is next updated.
An awful lot to report, as Louis has devoted most of his time over the last few months to recording new material and helping some good friends of his to do the same. This burst of activity started with scoring the string arrangements for The Clientele’s new album (God Save the Clientele, which will be released by Merge Records on May the 8th – for more info, skip to www.theclientele.co.uk), and was followed by the completion of the long-awaited collaboration with Young Marble Giants leader Stuart Moxham, The Huddle House, which will be available to subscribers on this website in early May.
Also available at the same time: Louis’s very own An Unknown Spring, his first studio album since The Wonder of it all, a collection of 14 tracks that is already circulating (and creating quite a stir) in the indie world. Licences have been secured for a number of countries (including, for the first time since Azure, Japan), but a limited digipack edition of this album will be offered to subscribers on Sunshine several months before the general release. Visit Sunshine regularly over the next few weeks for more information, or, even better, subscribe to Louis’s newsletter to know how you can get hold of this release.
In the meantime, you can already procure the Louis Philippe Live double-album which was released on Wonder Records earlier this year. Just visit the Sunshine shop ; for tracklist and more details info, a ‘Live’ page has been added to the discography. A dedicated myspace page has also been set up, on which you’ll be able to listen to four of the record’s 33 tracks.
Louis’s presence on the web has been greatly increased by the setting up of two community pages on myspace and virb.com, complete with blogs and streaming audio. Louis will only be too happy to add you as one of his friends on either site.
© 2001-2012, Philippe Auclair
Site design: scp, london - affordable web design