Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Isabelle Antena: Easy Does It
EASY DOES IT LTMCD 2420
Apparently, this is Isabelle Antena's first full purely bossa nova album. It comes complete with covers of Henry Mancini and Tom Jobim songs. This is an extremely happy record. It is the work of a European who has fully assimilated the bossa nova sound. The songs she wrote sound like she overdosed on Jobim, and while hallucinating, started writing songs. A majority of the songs are in English however, there are songs in Portugese and a few in French. The album kicks off with the Henry Mancini composed song Nothing to Lose that was song by Claudine Longet in Blake Edward's movie The Party. It sets the tone for the whole disc. One of easy, relaxed melodies, emotional availability brought on by summery weather. Easy Does It was produced by Isabelle with husband and arranger Denis Moulin, and recorded at their own studio in the South of France in 2004. Life near the sea, sand and sun has clearly had an effect on her work. All the songs are about living near the water and the beauty of nature. My favorites have to include: Moonlight Dancer, Your One and Only, Easy Does It, Obrigada and La Pecheresse a la Lingue. Her vocals really shine on the latter two, the only songs sung in French, emerging as a perfect combination of latin rhythms and chanson francais.
Disc Two is a collection of remixes of this album by artists paying homage to Isabelle Antena's work. It is very solid remix project and complements the album well. Nicola Conte's verson of Omerta Bossa opens up and builds upon the sound of her original with an arrangement courtesy of an Italian Jazz Aficionado. The Belgian acid-jazz artist Buscemi adds more of an electronic-tinged edge to La Pecheresse a la Lingue. LaMalice's remix of Easy Does It, focussing on a sample of "is freedom another word for nothing else to lose?" highlights the political nature of one of the more socially conscious songs on the disc. She sings, "if Issy Does It then No Shooting, No Fighting, No War!" --quite impressive for a bossa nova song, she dicusses how her pacifist views are out of step with the realities of contemporary life. Yukihiro Fukutomi's remix adds electronic percussion and makes the overall tune more bouncy and dancefloor friendly. The Dr. Drak Mix of Stars called here The Star System, contains the lyrics of the original song as replicated by computer. Yes, that's right, to an electronic samba you hear a monotone voice speak all the lyrics to the original. This has the effect of an alien lifeform coming to earth speaking to you via a voice modulator. Needless to say, it is a curious and somewhat funny track. The Musiq for Pleasure remix of Your One and Only turns the bossa nova track into a fierce punk electro-rock style track that would fit well next to Playgroup's Make It Happen.
All in all, this set is a real pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
(disc one) Nothing to Lose, Moonlight Dancer, A Rainbow (Can't be Forever), O Sapo, So Tinha de ser com Voce, Omerta Bossa, Stars, Your One and Only, Easy Does It, Aguas Calmas, Fresh, Obrigado, La Pecheresse a la Ligne, Sweet Kiss;
(disc two) Nothing to Lose (Thievery Corporation remix), Omerta Bossa (Nicola Conte version), La Pecheresse a la Ligne (Buscemi remix), Easy Does It (La Malice remix), Fresh (Yukihiro Fukutomi remix), The Star System (Dr Drak mix), Your One and Only (Musiq for Pleasure remix), Spirituosi (Este Samba) (Shape version)