16 May 2017

Duets (and heteronormativity?)

Ok, it's time to admit I've always had a soft spot for duets and duos. Weirdly, they've always been male-female duets -- and whether I like it or not, that might well be a result of the pervasiveness of heteronormativity. But of course that's not really a reason to discount good music. So ... here are three duets that I like/used to like:

1) Clemence and Jean Baptiste -- Concerto pour deux voix

This one I used to be crazy about. I used to listen on repeat. Looking back, I find it quite cheesy, particularly the way the directing/editing of the video makes Clemence and Jean-Baptiste into a couple when they are both really young and the whole thing is really unnecessary. Why not just focus on the music and not make it part of some kind of forced heteronormative model? It's unfortunate that that's what the video puts forward to me now, after all these years. But I can hardly ignore it.

Nonetheless, without the video it's almost the same for me as it was before. Because in a vocalise for two voices, through the absence of words, something really vital emerges.

2) ASSA - Idu na ty

One of my favourite movies, ASSA, has a deliberately awkward and very memorable duo scene. It was this scene that got me into synths; I looked up the Yamaha RX5 and then ended up on a Vintage Synth Explorer spree that changed my life. In fact, ASSA changed almost every aspect of my life, and still continues to do so four years after I first saw it. (tomorrow it's four years since I saw it -- THAT is how important it is to me. I have an ASSA anniversary.)

3) Liz & Laszlo, Rien à Paris

This is the latest duo I've come across, and it's probably my favorite, because both Liz and Laszlo/ Xavier's voices are just crazy good. (Xavier's main project is Automelodi, which I posted about here. I still can't believe it took me that long to find his music!)

It also works really well as a soundtrack to this (a short film by Claude Lelouch in which he attached a camera and drove through Paris in the early hours):

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