There comes a day when an artist says, “This album is the culmination of all my musical explorations”. For Marc Moulin, that day is now: “I am you” brings together Moulin’s jazz, Moulin’s chanson, Moulin’s electro, Moulin’s new-soul. All the Moulin that made black music a priority for him… in his own particular way. This release is the sexiest, the hottest and the mellowest of his career. Guaranteed to stand the test of time, it will be one for a late afternoon sitting by the fire and for an après-clubbing chill-out session. It will be the ideal companion for dreaming of being somewhere that is obviously better than here. Because without a doubt, “I am you” is the best album in Marc Moulin’s career.
Music is the sound of memories, of things that are familiar. But also of sounds for which the present asks the past to dance.
“I am you”, Marc Moulin’s new album is also his third for Blue Note, after “Top Secret” in 2001 and “Entertainment” in 2004. It carries us through peaceful soundscapes, along the sensual, sinuous banks of a river. The atmosphere is warm and damp. “Welcome to the club”, the opener, ushers us into Moulin’s singular world. It’s a sort of club that he has owned for years already, but which he has re-decorated. A club in which each room shows a part of the musical life of the founder of Placebo (1971-1974, as charted in “Placebo Sessions” from 2006) and Telex.
We find the voice of Christa Jérôme, Bert Joris’ trumpet and Marc’s organ playing all wrapped in a delicate groove. The electronic lays a light, discrete ambush that is nonetheless effective. The title track, “I am you”, refers to the stormy identity of a voice, Christa – more enchanting than ever.
Like Jacques Duvall, who writes in English for the first time in ages, he signs the lyrics of six tracks each of which is a slogan. “Every day is d-day” has the slow menace of a film noir, like a standard from the 40s, from Cole Porter to Gershwin. The vibrant rhythm of “Music is my husband” features Tanga (last heard with Zap Mama) alongside Christa. “Me & my ego” sounds like a late-60s, early 70s blues on the World Pacific or Prestige labels. We hear the sax of Fabrice Alleman and the guitar of Philip Catherine, with whom Moulin was already playing and visiting jazz clubs around Brussels’ Grand Place in the sixties.
This confirms the loop that Marc Moulin has just completed. “I am you” sounds like both a summary and the peak of his various musical adventures: the format of chanson; the electronics of a slogan; soul and blues that can be found everywhere. On “Me & my ego” and “Le bruit de l’ombre” (the sound of the shadow) we even get to hear the voice of Moulin for the first time, a deep smoky voice-over that reminds us of Serge Gainsbourg. “Hazard” is another from Moulin’s tradition of instrumentals, with synth waves and Bert’s trumpet emerging from the mist. “The upper room” and “FTB” act as a reply.
This is a trip on which we pitch like a ship, but without danger. With the assurance of arriving safe and sound on a gentle rhythm. It feels good.
“I am You”. Is that an enigma? The sound of the shadow? A question of wisdom, perhaps. To understand it, all you need do is listen to this album of rare bravery and conviction.