(AFP) – He sets the record straight: at the dawn of his 40 years, OrelSan rewinds his past, sticks to the time and plans tomorrow with an album crossed by the question of “transmission”, as he confides to AFP.
Despite the immense success of his previous record “La fête est finie”, the rapper has remained “simple, basic” to quote his hit from four years ago. He tumbles alone, in an electric scooter, in the street of the Parisian meeting fixed with AFP. Very happy with the anonymity conferred by wearing a mask in times of health crisis.
But behind the relaxation, the silversmith is always there. Among his new collection of gems, we find “Manifeste” and “The smell of gasoline” in a vein of social and political chronicles.
“Manifeste” is a track of bravery of 7 minutes on a demonstration which turns badly, with the beautiful cinematographic writing. He speaks of it first of all as “pure fiction”. But these are indeed fragments of reality that he sculpts.
In Paris (he is divided between the capital and his native Normandy), he lives not far from the place de la Republic, rallying point of “demonstrations”, those rare places where a lot of different people come together for various reasons, to maintain order, to claim, onlookers … “. The character of the caregiver of the title was born from his frequent visits to his “grandmother in nursing home”, as he reveals.
And then there is the first single released, “The smell of gasoline”, unstoppable tackle to the cocktail of controversy / extremism / excess served in certain debates around the presidential campaign.
– “Shadow and light” –
“I’m not too current but by speaking with the people around me I see that it becomes themes of the campaign “, he advances modestly. Before developing: “When I called the album + Civilization + I was primarily thinking of science fiction, of + Foundation + (cult book) by Isaac Asimov, the flag on the cover, it was the idea of post reconstruction -apocalyptic “.
The apocalypse is there, already, between the suicide of a music teacher who appears in” The quest “, just like the ecological disaster and the human exploitation in dotted lines in “Fuck the world”.
But the album does not only have a dark side. Humor and self-mockery are still there, as on the fireworks “Casseurs Flowters Infinity” with his accomplice Gringe. And the record ends with a constructive approach to the future.
An opus between “shadow and light”, as he sings it in the first and last track, “Shonen “and” Civilization “. Like a loop that marks the hour of the balance sheet and the outlook.
“I am 19 years old, I’m married, it’s the last album of my contract (with the record company), there is a first part reflecting on the past, a negative side then a more positive side “.
– Pharrell Williams –
And his big The question is therefore: “What are you going to pass on to your children? + Civilization +, it is the society that surrounds me and what I can bring”. “Learning to unlearn” he chants in response in “Civilization” where also the envy of a descent transpires.
Musically, he already leaves a beautiful legacy. On “Last Glass”, he offers himself a collaboration with Pharrell Williams.
The Neptunes, duo of producer-stars of which Pharrell Williams is a part, made him dream from his debut, as we can see in the event documentary series about his career, “Never show that to anyone” (Amazon Prime Video).
“It’s amazing, crazy , to have them on this disc, “he breathes. But how to reach them? “I asked Pedro Winter (former manager of Daft Punk, boss of the electro label Ed Banger), I knew they knew each other, telling him + excuse, maybe it’s ultra pretentious but it would be possible to ask the Neptunes? + “. “And there Pedro says + yeah why not? I’m texting Pharrell + (laughs)”.
And after quarantine (15 days in fact) in Mexico imposed by the Covid – 15, the meeting took place in a studio in Miami . Simple, basic. This is also the track “Basic” that Pedro Winter had sent as a link in his text message to Pharrell Williams.