Nicolas Godin: Contrepoint

The Air man goes Bach to the future.

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Admitting he’s at a creative impasse with Air, keyboardist Nicolas Godin has looked to JS Bach as a springboard for his first solo album.

Pianist Glenn Gould is known for his sometimes controversial reinterpretations of that venerable composer’s work, and it was Gould’s approach that pushed Godin to enter the conceptual maze that lies within Bach’s work. This is not Godin going classical or trying to reinvent himself as a classical player. Rather, the textures and ideas suggested by the original works have engaged and excited Godin’s expertise in creating aural environments of the kind that made Air so impressive, and this is to the fore on Contrepoint. There are nods to Godin’s pop past and to the groundbreaking timbre of Wendy Carlos’ Switched-On Bach, whose presence is unavoidable when performing these contrapuntal intricacies on analogue synths. Jacques Loussier, another pianist who repurposed Bach for jazz trio in the 50s, is also given a hat tip via a convincing Dave Brubeck pastiche.

It’s good but glossy and heavily airbrushed, leaving the overwhelming impression that Godin might need to go beyond both Air and Bach to discover his true solo voice.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.