Pour la re-sortie de l’album on a demandé à quelques personnes de répondre à un questionnaire pour connaître leurs morceaux préférés, leurs anecdotes, etc…

Alexandre Longo (Cascadeur)

cascadeur– Quelle est ta chanson préférée sur l’album et pourquoi?
Je dirais The Best of Us, pour la qualité de la composition, ses arrangements et sa sophistication (avec ses parties complexes s’imbriquant parfaitement). Un morceau idéal ? Magnifique et qui poursuit l’auditeur que je suis…

– As-tu des anecdotes ou souvenirs particuliers à nous donner ?
Je me souviens de Mehdi enregistrant les (si nombreuses) pistes de voix à la maison, sur la mezzanine. Je l’assistais les premiers jours, puis le laissais à sa méticulosité. Refaire et refaire jusqu’à atteindre son septième ciel.
En bas, me parvenaient les voix seules (Mehdi était casqué) et peu à peu au fil des jours, l’espace s’ornait de ses volutes vocales. Elles sont toujours présentes (en mon espace intérieur).

  • Je me souviens, de sourires et de rires partagés autour de certaines prises. Les raisons ont leurs secrets.
  • Je me souviens de ton geste délicat appuyant sur le curseur rouge de la tour de mon ordinateur si neuf et de la fumée blanche annonciatrice… de la panne!
  • Je me souviens de la tournée suivant la sortie de Fugu 1 et le plaisir éprouvé à jouer les titres de cet album foisonnant et riche d’enseignements.
  • Je me souviens des 15000 km en van pour la tournée américaine…
  • Je me souviens avoir oublié aussi mais cela me reviendra, j’espère !

Elinor Blake (April March)

elinor-blakeWhen I first heard this album, I was living in Cleveland which is a bit like living under a grey bowl. Every time I played Fugu 1 the sun magically appeared in my mind and and a Trumpet Vine sprouted down my shoulder and around my hips. I was completely transported. But to where and when? That’s the beauty of this sublime album. It has a locale and temporality all it’s own.

Last month Mehdi and I were in the studio recording Au Départ with Tony Allen, Benjamin Glibert and Olivier Marguerit. Tony was dancing and smiling. I could see the Trumpet Vine working it’s magic on him. He was so delighted. He said «I love this. I don’t know what this music is! I’ve never heard anything like it. I have no category for it. It’s so creative and beautiful.»

I couldn’t agree more .

Harvey Williams

harveyPersonal favourites are Monocorde & The Best Of Us, but I’m not entirely sure I can explain why.

I don’t really have any special memories to tell either, but I fondly remember the first evening we met in (was it?) Boston in 2001, when you were on tour with Stereolab & I was on tour with Trembling Blue Stars, & our tour dates happened to overlap.

Honestly, I was absolutely overjoyed…



John Cunningham

johnWhen I was on tour in France in 1999 someone played me a song that seemed immediately to create a space for itself. It was like finding a beautiful handcrafted wooden toy in a box of cheap imported plastic ones; simple and charming with a naivety only an expert craftsman could create. The song was She’s Coming Over by Fugu.

As it turned out Fugu’s architect Mehdi had been listening to my record too – a happy co-incidence that isn’t really one. And before I knew it we were at the helm of a studio mixing Fugu 1, excavating and piecing together the sound that existed only in the mind of its creator. I can’t remember where the studio was. It might have been in Belgium or Serbia or somewhere. It had seen better days though. Like a luxury yacht that was rusting around the edges, with the engine churning and groaning to work up the momentum to set sail. The computer driving the faders of the mixing desk was like «Tennis for Two» – suitably retro for a classic sound that had no place and no time. And like anything these days -there’s always a computer between you and where you want to get to.

We might have been in Abbey Road in the 60s with St Pepper being tracked in the room next door, or California or France, or we might have been in the future. How we wrestled with that technology to make it finally capitulate to our will remains, to this day, a mystery. Occasionally an instrument’s volume would spring out desperate to be free, the ghost mixer mischievously rattling the faders, narrowly missing the strictly forbidden hot coffee balanced on the edge. «Please can I remove this coffee?» Mehdi would say, «it disturbs me».

Sometimes the tracks would magically group themselves together like a bunch of starlings each mysteriously knowing where the other is about to fly. Other times we had to beat them into shape. What the hell if the mic was recording the wall, it still weirdly all worked together. But then that’s the quality of the arrangements. Sometimes I’d solo the horns or strings or angelic backing vocals just for the pleasure of hearing them, imagining the geeky box set of various versions.

What was created is, for me, a classic record. Not because of its mix – Gordon Bennett no – not at all, but because the songs and the arrangements are so authentic, so dynamic, so bold, and reference a music that was made with the same love and attention to detail; music that was built on firm foundations and created for its own sake, not drilled into us by bland radio stations that know that if they keep playing something long enough, we’ll buy it just to make it go away.

Jonathan Caouette

caouette– What is your favourite song on the album and why ?
I think this is one of the hardest questions ever.

It’s very rare that I am torn between a favorite song on any given album. I have to say, every song for me on this album is a masterpiece. The album is a masterpiece. I was going back and forth trying to answer the question, what is my favorite song and it really took a while just to pick one song.
I guess I really really love Au Départ. I speak English and don’t even know what the lyrics are, but the music overrides that for me in this song. The song, could be about people in an airplane crash for all I know, but I am sure it’s about something about leaving, going somewhere? ha ha..
Au Départ… It’s the strongest optimist feel good song on the album for me. It sounds like an extended children’s television show theme from 1974, that you want to listen to over and over again.

The album as a whole, has gotten me through very dark times in my life. It’s a real anti depressant of an album. It floods me with dopamine, and gives me hope that real music is still being made in the world.

The album, does two things for me simultaneously It’s goes everywhere I want it to go musically wise and at the same time, it’s unpredictable in all the best ways with the songs. It’s one of those rare gems that you don’t want to listen too ALL of the time for there is a great fear of getting use to it to much. It’s that serious of an album for me. So I have to step away from it sometimes and revisit it. It’s like a drug that you don’t want to get too use to for the fear of not getting high on it any longer. I don’t know how popular the album is anywhere, but for me, it still feels like this underground secret thing I have, that I like to play for people and surprise them with the «what is this you’re playing»..and then I can go.. «Oh it’s Fugu…» «you know this band…» and then sometimes if they are super cool, they do know, but sometimes they don’t and I feel cool for introducing them to it.

– Any special stories or memories to tell ?
I discovered the album in 2004 in Minneapolis I THINK..when I was promoting the first film I made called Tarnation. I was doing a radio show interview somewhere in Minneapolis and the guy that was hired as a publicist gave me this ripped (so sorry) copy of the album and said.. «hey take this with you, I think you will love this».

After I had made Tarnation, a lot of musicians and music junkies were connecting with me, because my film had so much cool music that I was so grateful to be able to use in the film from my own cd collection. So I was getting cd’s and music thrown at me for years, and Fugu 1 was the one cd I got that remained in my main milieu for all time. I wasn’t getting on airplanes back then, so I would take trains and buses everywhere..and FUGU along with Brian Eno, became by bus /train soundtracks back then. Then jumping years and years ahead in the future, my good friend, fellow filmmaker Marie Losier, introduced me to Elinor Blake (April March).

Elinor and I have a very very likeminded sensibility in music Elinor and I forged a great friendship and I ended up doing a music video for her, and somehow FUGU came up. I don’t remember if it was me or her, but then when I realized that she knew Mehdi, my heart sank. I knew that stars were aligned.

Julien Gasc

julien_gascJ’ai d’abord découvert la musique de Mehdi Zannad à travers As Found en 2005. A l’époque ou nous jouions avec Hyperclean, Julien Barbagallo a mentionné le fait que Mehdi cherchait un backing band, du coup Julien avait pensé à Benjamin Glibert et à moi pour assurer la partie rythmique, c’est comme cela que nous avons découvert le disque, en tournée dans le Lot, sur les haut-parleurs du van, par une journée d’été ensoleillée. Nous n’avons finalement pas joué dans le groupe Fugu.
Quelques années après, c’est Elinor Blake qui m’a fait écouter Fugu 1 pour la première fois, nous étions à Segovia en Espagne chez mon père c’était la fin du mois d’août. J’ai tout de suite pensé au concept album, au roman pop, comme les disques des Beatles, des Kinks, c’est une oeuvre qui est propice à la contemplation, à la méditation, à l’introspection mais aussi au partage.

Je n’ai pas de chansons préférées sur le disque, je l’écoute généralement en entier.

Nous avons repris Sol y Sombra avec ma sœur Lou, je voulais que nous la chantions tous les deux l’an passé pour un concert en première partie de Dorian Pimpernel, elle a retenu les paroles rapidement tandis que j’étais à la peine. Finalement nous avons seulement répété le morceau une dizaine de fois au piano, nous ne l’avons jamais chanté devant des gens, nous n’avons pas pu faire le concert à La Loge car notre grand-père est mort, interpréter cette chanson est resté un souvenir intime.

Lorsque j’étais à Santiago du Chili en janvier 2013, entre deux concerts avec Laetitia Sadier, je suis allé voir un match de football du Club Universitaire du Chili (La U, c’est l’équivalent du Barcelona Club Futbol là-bas) au bar et j’ai commandé un sol y sombra comme les vieux, en buvant je pensais à Mehdi Zannad et à la chanson. Le sol y sombra est un verre d’alcool d’anis sec auquel on ajoute une grosse larme de cognac, le cognac flotte dans une bulle sur l’anis.

Sean O’Hagan

sean_o_hagan_1Way back in 1994, I remember this polite French man approaching me at a High Llamas show at a London club. I was not use to enthusiasm or positive feedback at the the time. The music the High Llamas made left a most UK audiences scratching their heads and coping with embarrassment. Mehdi, my new French friend spoke of an understanding he had of the Llamas music that kind of gave me a sense of hope. It turned out Mehdi was an architectural student living in my part of South East London, and that he had been brewing ideas and pretty much courting very similar musical influences as I had.

Mehdi was pals with my part time employers and good friends Tim and Laetitia from Stereolab. It turned out that Mehdi’s project Fugu was well known to Tim and Laetitia and, instantly there seemed to be a 3 way symmetry (is that possible?) between Stereolab, Llamas and Fugu.

When I first heard the early Fugu demos, I was intrigued. They were parcels of perfectly formed chamber songs which drew on varied influences, The Zombies, The Rascals, The Beach Boys, McCartney, Soft Machine and 60s British and French cinema.

I was astounded.

My memory is hazy , but before Duophonic released the early EPs there was a plan to release on The High Llamas label Alpaca. I was ambitious and fancied myself as the producer. My friend from Nancy had given me moments joy and London was a little less lonely while Mehdi was building Fugu.

By this time Mehdi was gathering admirers in London and France, as tastes were thawing and folk were opening up to ideas again.

The Fugu 1 Mehdi’s record eventually came out and the world could witness this music born of love of a melody, arrangement and mystery, one thought conceived in the the conservatoire and another from 60s AM radio.

Mehdi moved back to France, and we engaged on plenty of cross channel telephone conversations reproduction and grand plans.I believe on one occasion I even suggested an idea down the line for a bass part on Vibravox !

The old ways may be the best ways.

My favourite song from the record, if that can be truly separated, would be The Best of Us.

The intro an insistent piano which gives no clue of the song that might follow. Odd hooks, intriguing turnarounds and vocals that almost fight the song!! The bar lengths just keep you guessing until the full chamber coda hooks you in on a strange journey of maddening lovely pop chamber groove.

Xavier Boyer

xavier– Comment es-tu tombé sur le disque à l’époque ?
Mederic nous avait fait tous découvrir la musique de Mehdi a l’époque de ses morceaux à numéros. On est devenu fan et on s’est rencontré peu de temps après lors d’un de nos concerts à Metz. Tout de suite, ça a bien collé: on avait l’impression d’être des cousins éloignés, lui de Nancy, nous de Rouen, passionnés des mêmes groupes et ça nous a rapprochés. (C’est pourquoi nous sommes remerciés dans les crédits de l’album)

– Quelle est ta chanson préférée sur l’album et pourquoi ?
The Best Of Us m’a toujours frappé par son efficacité, j’adore la voix hyper haute, très particulière de mehdi, l’arrangement baroque pop…une super façon de commencer un disque.

– As-tu des anecdotes ou souvenirs particuliers à nous donner ?
Mehdi est fan de Queen.