Il n'y a plus rien
|Il n'y a plus rien|
|Studio album by Léo Ferré|
Barclay Studio, Paris (France)
|Léo Ferré chronology|
After having inserted two symphonic songs ("Ton style", "Tu ne dis jamais rien") in his mostly pop rock oriented album La Solitude (1971), after having re-recorded his 1950s oratorio on Guillaume Apollinaire's vast poem La Chanson du mal-aimé ("Song of the Poorly Loved", 1972), Ferré feels now ready to establish himself as a complete artist, author and musician, who will do without any arrangers' services from now. So here he goes completely symphonic with his own material for the first time (he had gone orchestral before with arranger Jean-Michel Defaye but it was mostly on renowned material by French poets from the 19th century - see Verlaine et Rimbaud and Léo Ferré chante Baudelaire albums) and he often replaces singing by intense spoken-word and declamation.
This very cohesive album opens with the straightforward manifesto "Preface", a reduction of a much longer text that precisely prefaces Poète... vos papiers! (Poet... your documents!), a collection of his poems formerly published in 1956. As Ferré says, "the most beautiful songs are songs that demand justice". The discipline of poetry is meant to teach us how to fight so we can free our mind:
"Modern poetry doesn’t sing any more – it crawls on its arse. And yet it pretends to be refined. It has no time for dirty words: it doesn’t even know they exist. Words are handled with kid gloves: ‘menstrual blood’ is called ‘an indisposition’ and people go round insisting that certain terms should be confined to the laboratory or the dictionary. (...) Poetry isn’t made with words – words are brought alive by poetry. (...) Poetry is an outcry, it must be heard like music. All poetry that is only meant to be read is imprisoned by the printed page and remains incomplete. It is given sex by the human voice, just like a violin touched by a bow."
The album ends with the radical, pessimistic yet epic and fighting "Il n'y a plus rien" ("There is nothing anymore"), that deals with libertarian and revolutionary utopias disappointment from the 1960s and May 68. This anarchist outburst is an exemple of one of the very first uses of whale vocalization in popular music.
All songs written, composed, arranged and directed by Léo Ferré, except Ne chantez pas la mort whose text is written by Jean-Roger Caussimon.
- Original LP
|2.||"Ne chantez pas la mort" (Don't Sing The Death)||7:31|
|3.||"Night and day"||6:40|
|6.||"Il n'y a plus rien" (There Is Nothing Anymore)||16:08|
- Danielle Licari: voice
- The orchestra consists of session musicians hired for the recording
- Arranger & orchestra conductor: Léo Ferré
- Director of engineering: Claude Achalle
- Engineers: Charles Rochko, Philippe Omnes
- Executive producer: Richard Marsan
- Artwork: Patrick Ullmann, Geneviève Vanhaecke
- Léo Ferré, Preface, 1972. English adaptation by Peter Hawkins.