Rodolphe Burger: “Good because it’s the feeling I had at the end of this album” 

Former Kat Onoma leader recently released “Good”, a new solo album

You started the guitar at 9 years old. Where did you get the desire for this instrument? The sound of Jimi Hendrix’s guitar? The radios of American bases in Germany that you captured in Alsace? 

“Both ! Hendrix at the time he was on RTL. It was this radio before, we were listening to amazing things. This is another era … There was the first phenomenon of globalization almost, on a fairly dazzling scale. The entire planet was quickly electrified by sound. It’s impressive in the years 67/68, the number of great albums that were made in record time and were broadcast in a massive way. It was not at all a formatted, commercial music.”

Can you tell me briefly about Kat Onoma’s story and why this adventure ended? At the time you did not enter any box, that’s what blocked you? 

“Kat Onoma has been a very long story, 20 years. To compare, the Beatles, it’s just 4 years old. We started in the early 80s and stopped in 2003. I did not think we would have had such a long history.” [ . . . ]

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Rodolphe Burger, the artist with music “philosophical pop”

A singular spoken-sung that imposes an intoxicating presence and maintains its music in a state of weightlessness. An ecstatic blues rock and loops with hypnotic reverb, the textual cut-up stowed with saturated and saturated riffs, the guitar considered as one of the fine arts

For thirty years, Rodolphe Burger has written one of the most beautiful pages of popular and literary music. A music that could even qualify as “philosophical pop.” The name seems odd however for the one who led one of the best formations in France with the group Kat Onoma (1986-2002), before continuing his musical adventure solo. The name seems curious for the founder of the festival C’est dans la vallée, who writes for both Alain Bashung and Jacques Higelin, playing with the same spirit in the company of bluesman James Blood Ulmer or singer Rachid Taha.

A philosophical pop music, in spite of everything, because, as Gilles Deleuze said, who launched the formula and wanted to “do a course in philosophy as Dylan organizes a song,” Rodolphe Burger composes albums as books of images and sounds. With Good , his latest album (Last Band, 2017), he mixes this time the acoustics and electronics, thanks to the rhythm of Christophe Calpini.

The texts ? Poetry uttered. On the phrasing of the German romantics (Goethe for “An Lili” or Büchner for “Lenz”), on the grain of the voice of English-speaking authors of the last century (from Samuel Beckett for “Good” to TS Eliot for “Waste Land”) without forgetting the contemporary French writers, Michel Deguy ( “Nothing and nobody”) to Olivier Cadiot ( “golden Poem” and “Providence”) or Pierre Alféri ( “Happy Hour”), Rodolphe Burger made a direct album and learned, sensitive and thinking.

An irresistible pulsation

Good immediately sets the tone and sets the ambition high. An organic scansion, an irresistible pulsation, a Beckettian voice from beyond the grave leaning against a sublime rise of copper-plated strings. In “Cummings”, the guitarist’s voice is intertwined with a recording of that of the poet E. E. Cummings, whose variations and melodic lines he follows. The charm operates and the archive provides immense vertigo [ . . . ]

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