More from Les Disques Audiogram

Dateline: 05/08/98

Regular visitors to this site know that I love music from Québec. People who are familiar with the music scene in Québec know that Les Disques Audiogram is one of the hottest record companies for Francophone music in North America, the home of such stars as Daniel Bélanger, Jean Leloup, and my personal favorite, Paul Piché.

You might also know that my very first World Music weekly feature was a profile of Les Disques Audiogram. I mostly focussed on their many French-language albums, but slowly the company is getting known for releasing albums by artists who perform in other languages as well. I recently had the opportunity to listen to five Audiogram albums encompassing four languages -- French, English, Spanish, and Italian -- from some very exciting artists.

Gogh van Gogh is the first English act the label ever signed. Bliss Station is their second release. It is very danceable, with electronic rhythms and exciting pop hooks. Their cover of the old Psychedelic Furs song "Sister Europe" seemed appropriate, because much of this album reminded me of some of the Furs' best work.

Basta is the dynamic duo of Stéfan Boucher and Jean-François Lemieux. Fans of Daniel Bélanger might recognize Lemieux's name as the bass player in Bélanger's band (along with drummer Marc Lessard and guitarist Rick Haworth) The two share songwriting and vocalist duties on Radieux Sceptique, the band's debut. Experimental, eclectic, and loud are the first three things I think of when listening to Basta. Mostly in French, this album is a new release which is already doing well, especially thanks to the song "Aprés-Moi L'Apocalypse."

Lhasa is a name on many people's lips in the music industry. This Spanish-singing diva has been wowing audiences in Canada and the United States, touring with her bassist Mario Légaré and guitarist Yves Desrosiers. La Llorona is an album of austere simplicity, immediately drawing the listener towards Lhasa's sultry vocals. Liner notes includes lyrics in Spanish, French, and English. Combining folk and Latin rhythms, this is definitely World Music at its finest.

Giorgio Conte is one of Audiogram's international artists. Hailing from Italy, Giorgio is the younger brother of Paolo Conte, a major star in their native country. La Vita Fosse is an album full of Conte's virtuoso acoustic guitar work and rugged Italian vocals. My overall impression of the album is that it is very smooth, folky, and should be appealing to people who are into singer/songwriters.

Finally, no list of hot Audiogram albums can be complete without talking about Bran Van 3000. Glee is the debut album which gave the band a huge audience in dance clubs, on the radio, and on music video stations thanks to songs like "Drinking in L.A." BV3's songs are heavily influenced by dance, but are not the repetitive, musically unmelodic fare often found in that genre. Strong songwriting, good lyrics, and some serious musicianship are what put this band over the top, and will likely stay there for a long time.

A big Merci Beaucoup goes out to Les Disques Audiogram for providing me with the music! À la prochaine . . . .

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