'"Cendres de Lune" was released in 1986 and is the first album of Mylène. It is essential to better understand the particular universe created by Mylène and her companion Laurent Boutonnat. For the first time one can encounter the topics of preference of Mylène and Laurent: death, sex, black romanticism, confusion, suicide and (anti)religion. The music itself is for the most part rather merry and when once asked about this, Mylène replied: "Because they [the songs] are cynical; cynicism saves everything!".
"Vieux Bouc" (Old Goat) is one of the most interesting songs on the album. The lyrics (which I have translated from French to English - like everywhere else in my review) takes the form of a dialogue with a woman and the devil, "Vieux Bouc" ("Oh, Old Goat, are you tender? Do you like my morning bells? This hymen will be my gift, now hell is in my blood") and has references to Sartre and "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov. The album also contains Mylène's breakthrough song, the musicially not-so-impressive light dance pop song "Libertine" with its fin-du-siècle references and poetic lyrics between innocence and perversion; "Au Bout de la Nuit" dealing with love and suicide; the excellent and sad "Tristana" ("With a blow of her heart she embraces a passing shadow, nothing will erace the cowardly traces of the dripping blood from the dismembered bodies") ; "Chloé", a morbid little ditty binding childhood with death. Its music is reminiscent of Danny Elfman with Mylène singing naively along like a child - creating a very interesting contrast (the song is - according to Mylène herself - about a child telling its story of how it killed its sister or friend); "Maman a Tort", which was the first single of Mylène, with its counting rhyme ("1. Mum is wrong, 2. Love is beautiful, 3. The nurse cries, 4. I love her"); "We'll Never Die", musically a bit gothic sounding with dark lyrics ("Your blood will wash our faces, the vultures will kiss you"); "Greta", a tribute to Greta Garbo; "Plus Grandir" dealing with ageing and rape. The album finishes with the instrumental "Cendres de Lune", musically in horror movie style with Mylène merrily humming on top.
Impossible also to forget mentioning her video clips that accompany this period. The clips are rather like small movies in cinematic style. Directed by extremely talented Laurent Boutonnat, those small masterpieces have been integral in forging the MF universe. "Plus Grandir" (capturing the phantasms of Mylène's childhood) features Mylène dismembering and drowning her doll, being raped by a diabolic man, chased by dwarf nuns and turning old. Libertine and its 11 min masterpiece video clip, Barry Lindon style, cinematic; Tristana with yet another highly impressive and romantic video clip, also cinematic, drawing from Snow White, Tarkovsky etc.; with elements such as love, death, snow, blood, wolves.
Even though some of the songs may sound a bit dated, I highly recommend this very rich and unusual album - even (or perhaps rather more so) if you are a sophisticated listener and shun the mainstream (like myself!). Mylène Farmer is a completely unique artist; listening to one of her albums is like reading a book and she constantly makes you discover new things.'
The Key to the Particular Universe of Mylène Farmer - 5 / 5
'That's the beauty of it - 'Ainsi Soit-je' is far from blowing anyone's brains, yet it successfully does exactly that - frightening, restless, chilling, nightmarish pop music that consumes one's solitude to shreds. Personally, I don't understand the lowest ratings of this album here but I'll stick to the fact people rating this album below 3 stars are either not that much into Mylene, expect too much from a decent 1988 album or simply spam it for Mylene CD's (not to mention second-hand items) are infamously way too expensive to buy on regular basis.
As for the contents, it's a bit confusing rather than consistent story to tell - however, it is a fine summary of Mylene's career earlier on. In terms of being 80's pop, Mylene's musical stylings always leaned towards alternative pop more than just satisfying mainstream's expectations on the verge of commercial appeal.
Intellectual ('L'horloge' or 'Pour'vu Quelles Soient Douces') just as it is clumsy ('Deshabillez-moi' and 'The Farmer's Conclusion' seem to break the seriousness of the material here), 'Ainsi' offers adorable hits - 'Sans Contrefaçon' was my first-ever encounter with her work and I wasn't feeling comfortable with it then - she always managed to bring obscurity and melancholy into her songs to great effect despite there is repetitive howling along the way. But once you start digging into it, it will pound on you like a hammer with enjoyable scars and bruises. Among the highlights from this collection is undoubtedly 'Sans Logique', a song of unspeakable beauty. Delivered in a strange italo-disco/flamenco fusion over Farmer's chanson-lament, behind it is a bizarre story of losing common sense. 'Jardin de Vienne' is as equally beautiful - soothing, almost military tune covered by mysterious veil of glory.
Among the album's less impressive moments is probably 'La Ronde Triste' - a song which repeats 'Allan's chords, while sounds quite cliched using that typical shakahachi sound, more like filling the void where neither music nor childish, death-obsessed lyrics stand for any particular conviction.
Still, it is a solid 5-star rating and shouldn't stop you from discovering one's amazing work yourself. This is a deserved part of French pop anthology - timeless if not entirely immortal, beautiful if not perfect.'
'the public discovers this stage beast for the first time, 21 years ago. she also discovers herself too since she views herself as an extremely shy person, so this first tour made mylene overcome her shyness and conquer the stage with relative ease. i say 'relative' because if you manage to get your hands on the actual video of that concert you can compare the evolution of her body language and dance sequences to her subsequent filmed tours. the concert starts with the haunting notes of "l'horloge'" , a gothic poem by french symbolist charles baudelaire, exquisitely sung and deeply emotional; it sets the tone of the whole concert with its dark and romantic aura. the stage is -fittingly- set like a graveyard and mylene appears with a burst of light amidst the ruins to a most gothic effect. all songs are interpreted to perfection with none having a lesser impact than its studio rendition. a special mention goes to the superbly arranged 'maman a tort', 'a quoi je sers' , 'ainsi sois je' 'tristana' and 'libertine' with their breathtaking stage performance as well as the intensely emotional deliveries of 'a quoi je sers' , 'ainsi sois je' and 'tristana'. this is the only concert featuring 'tristana' , a personal all time favorite. 'a quoi je sers' was surprisingly performed for the first time in 20 years on mylene's latest tour in 2009 and those 2 songs are alone worth the admission price. discover one of pop and rock's greatest and most innovative artists. a delicate character and a ruthless stage presence at the same time.
P.S the video (only released as PAL laserdisc and VHS) has the same set list as the audio except for the song 'allan' which is only found in the audio cd, but that can be rectified if you get the 'music videos Vol I'DVD, where 'allan' is featured as a bonus video track from this 1989 tour. happy hunting..'
her first concert - 5 /5
Written bytorquemada "sweating_demon" www.amazon.com
'Mylene and her musical collaborator Laurent shift gears slightly. With the exception of "Pas de doute" and the super-catchy single hit "Desenchantee", they're obviously no longer interested in producing items for the dancefloor. Instead, "L'autre" is a concept album which fuses new age sensibilities and ambient sounds (similar to the highly successful Enigma) with traditional French chanson ("Je t'aime melancolie") and downtempo, mighty ballads ("Agnus Dei", "L'autre", "Regrets"). Fans of Mylene's earlier, club-oriented songs could be disappointed, but the integrity and consistency of this album is impressive. Lyrics are even darker and more personal than on previous albums, and together with the transparent, thrilling musical backing, it's a great body of work. There's nothing else quite like this in music, so a five-star rating is justified. I used to listen to "L'autre" when I was reading Stephen King's book "It", and it made the story even more intense and frightening. It's just Mylene's best album.'
'I cannot stop listening to it, it's fantastic...my feet dance!!..I first knew about Mylène back in 1988, because of her hit "Sans contrefaçon", later I never heard of her again, except for a female underwear fashion show in which the DJ featured the extended version of "Allan" (great too). Then in 1998, upon visiting Paris I knew I had to buy the record which included "Sans..." (I only had it tape recorded), this one being her hit album "Ainsi soint je", which contains fantastic songs as "Pourvu qu'elles soient douces", the aforementioned "Allan", "L'Horloge", etc.
If you're not familiar with this enchanting french songstress, I agree this must be your first purchase to approach her. It features most of the hits of her first three albums and more, especially the fantastic "Je t'aime melancolie" (the greatest of all remixes in my opinion), as well as "Desenchantée", "Pourvu..", "Sans Contrefaçon","Allan", "Beyond my control" (I'm almost sure that the voice one hears on the background repeating "it's beyond my control" belongs to John Malkovich, from the american movie "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988)) et al...I must say, that this cd is worth every penny. This seems to be the double cd someone talked about in another review, because it has the same songs of the double-cd featured in the french amazon site (one cd with 8 songs and another with seven). I should know! 'cos I own a ten song version of this album (minus "Tristana", "Plus Grandir", "Libertine", "A quoi je sers" and "Regrets"). I must note too that there's a mistake in the listing of songs, because it features "My Soul is Slashed", the english version of her french song "Que mon coeur Lache".'
'If there is one reason I wish to brush up on my French, it's Mylène Farmer. I was desperate for something new to sink my teeth into recently with Y2K not really offering me much to get excited about, and I caught a whole 6 seconds of one of Mylène's old videos on a tape I'd recorded from MTV circa 1991. Not only did I vividly recall the song nine years later, but her name was lodged in my semi-conscious waiting to be remembered. Amazon never lets me down when I get the urge to get experimental, and this was one of the more rewarding experiments I've had. I ordered her back catalogue in one go. This was the first of the batch to turn up, and it's absolutely wonderful. I haven't stopped playing it at every opportunity for over two weeks. This is a good sign, it puts it in the company of Shawn Colvin's "A Few Small Repairs," Neil Finn's "Try Whistling This" and Fiona Apple's "When The Pawn..." from recent times. Genre-wise, this is nothing like the aforementioned, but it has that same insistence that makes you want to hit play as soon as the album ends.
Mylène's pure voice is a prime example of why the French language is often regarded as romantic or seductive. I have grown used to not fully understanding the lyrics, the sound alone is beautiful and soothing, a real treat to the ears. The production has a clean, warm, almost polished effect, and her voice simply soars above it. The instrumentation is largely keyboard based, although the arrangements are very tasteful and not indicative of, say, any leanings towards the electronica genre. There are quite a few guitars on this album, something I believe doesn't occur too often in Mylène's music, but the often incessant, driving way they are used is more akin to the almost dancefloor charge that characterised Nine Inch Nails' debut, "Pretty Hate Machine" than, for instance, mainstream heavy metal or rock.
The closest thing I have in my vast CD collection to compare it to is Bel Canto, who I admire dearly for similar reasons to this; if you like their later albums, I think there's a fairly good chance this would work for you. I just wish my comprehension of the French language could do more justice to what sounds to these ears like an excellent body of work. (Can't wait to hear the others!)'
Beautiful seductive music crowned by a voice to die for - 5 / 5
В преддверии выхода нового альбома самое время вспомнить творческий путь этой удивительной женщины, делающей яркую, чувственную, полную эмоций и сексуальности музыку.
А также, пользуясь случаем, хочу поздравить Сашу- лучшего друга. С чем? Да какая хрен разница, ну вот хотя бы с моей 250-й публикацией, или вот, например, сегодня 11 ноября - день рождения Федора Михайловича Достоевского, и еще до конца года осталось ровно 50 дней! Главное ведь внимание :) Сашок, вообще нехорошо выпрашивать поздравления, но уж ладно, в честь такого Дня - всего тебе самого-самого, "пива и телок", побольше читай Федора Михайловича, ну и воще как бы ну ты понял. WooHoo!!! ;)
* Background vocals: Carole Frédéricks, Estella Samantha Radji, Anne-Marie Constant, Yvonne Jones, Les Moines Fous du Tibet * Mastering and engraving: André Perriat * Editions: Bertrand Le Page, Polygram Music Except: "Maman a tort": Bertrand Le Page Cesanie; "Greta": Bertrand Le Page, Movie Box Music
* Photo on the first side and in the booklet: Laurent Boutonnat, Christophe Mourthe * Photo on the back: Éric Caro * Management: Bertrand Le Page * Recorded at "Le Matin calme" studio * Mixed at studio of Palais des Congrès * Produced by Laurent Boutonnat
* Text: Mylène Farmer * Music: Laurent Boutonnat * Keyboard and arrangement: Laurent Boutonnat * Piano on "Désenchantée": Bruno Fontaine * Guitars: Slim Pezin * Acoustic basses: Bertrand Paganotti * Military step on "Il n'y a pas d'ailleurs": Philippe Draï * Flute and harp: Pol Ramirez Del Piu * Rhythmic programmings: Thierry Rogen, Laurent Boutonnat * Programmer: Patrice Rouillon Tsernsoff de Gironville * Vocals: Mylène Farmer
* Sound engineer: Thierry Rogen * Assistant: Lionel Philippe * Editions: Requiem Publishing, Paul van Parys * Management: Thierry Suc * Cover design: Com'N.B * Photos: Marianne Rosenstiehl (Sygma) * Mastering and engraving: André Perriat (Top Master) * Recorded and mixed at Studio Mega * Production: Toutankhamon, Laurent Boutonnat, Thierry Rogen Except for "Désenchantée": Carole Fredericks, Beckie Bell, Debbie Davis, with the participation of Sophie, Dominique, Edwige, Mandy and Cécile
* Text: Mylène Farmer * Music: Laurent Boutonnat Except "Tomber 7 fois...": text and music by Mylène Farmer
* Guitar: Jeff Dahlgren * Bass: Abraham Laboriel * Drums: Denny Fongheiser * Keyboard: Laurent Boutonnat * Flute: Pol Ramirez Del Piu * Background vocals on "L'Instant X" and "Comme j'ai mal": Kate Markowitz * Chorus on "Tomber 7 fois...": Chorale du Lycée Français de Los Angeles * Sound: Shelly Yakus, Thierry Rogen, Chad Munsey * Mixed by Bertrand Châtenet Except "Laisse le vent emporter tout", by Thierry Rogen
* Assistants: Mike Scotella, Ken Villeneuve, Larry Schalit * Programmation: Fred Attal * Recorded at A&M Studios and Record One, Los Angeles * Mixed at Record One and Record Plant * Masterised by André Perriat ("Top Master", Paris) and Bernie Grundman ("Bernie Grundman Mastering", Hollywood) * Management: Thierry Suc * Executive production: Paul van Parys for Toutankhamon SA * Editions: Requiem Publishing * Photos: Herb Ritts / Visages * Cover design: Henry Neu for Com'N.B * Produced by Laurent Boutonnat