EMILIE SIMON first made her mark on the U.S. in the fall of 2006 with her debut U.S. release, The Flower Book on Nov. 7, 2006. Her plush, artful soundscapes had already yielded her significant praise and awards in her French homeland, as well as acclaim across the rest of Europe and Japan. Singing in both French and English, Emilie allows her music to flow naturally, rewarding her with devoted fans worldwide.
It s in New York, birthplace of all artistic hybrids, that Emilie Simon now lives, meaning that it s in the heart of the Big Apple that the seeds of The Big Machine were planted and grown. The Big Machine: an impressive third album from a young French woman with a new freedom of expression, singing (almost exclusively) in English and continuing an expanded version of the musical adventure she started in 2003.
After releasing records back to back, and a lot of non-stop touring, I felt I needed a break. Above all I wanted to experience some things for myself and not necessarily think about music. I upped and left with no microphone, no piano. I even forbade myself to go near a computer for a year and a half. I wanted to see what I was capable of without my usual comforts around me. Of course this imposed diet could only last a certain time, and soon Emilie tentatively started touching her instruments again, although with a different attitude to composing and singing, letting her intuition guide her as she has always done. She recorded her feelings day by day, approaching songs not as something magical, detached from the real world, but as a veritable sketchbook for the sensorial overload that is life in New York.
The Big Machine had been set in motion, and even if Emilie wasn t aware of it at the time, distant ancestors of the New York music pantheon were being integrated into her plans, such as Laurie Anderson s Big Science which itself reconciled thirty years of joyous and serious experimentation (O Superman), both avant-garde and pop. The first two Emilie Simon albums were already built around the perfect equilibrium that is somewhere between sensual songwriting and complex old-school electronics. This time surprisingly, for someone who had never really tried working within a group she started looking for musicians capable of bringing to life what she had in her head. And before that, as if to familiarise herself with the swooping emotions that numerous American musicians on the folk circuit had felt before her, she gave some solo concerts in a few clubs.
I wanted the album to be the transcription of the impression I had of New York, with both a black and white musical feel to it, urban, heavy on bass and drums and with explosions of colour and light from the synths.
The breathtaking result is surprisingly rich, and confirms Emilie Simon's multiple talents, proving definitively that she's not just good for tinkering with machines. Quite the contrary in fact: you'll find her venturing into unknown territories here, such as on the seductive track The Cycle with its hints of pop radio from the 70s/80s, or - at the other end of the spectrum - the astonishing Rocket To The Moon (co-written with Teitur) where she transforms into a sultry cabaret singer off Broadway. Both inventive and charming, as she always is, The Big Machine is also Emilie Simon's most accessible, personal record to date. A large part of it was recorded in the mythical Electric Lady studios, a fitting nickname for the lady herself. --Myspace