David Fenech & Pierre Bastien – Suspicious Moon

Limited Edition White LP (100 copies only)
Standard Edition Black LP

Suspicious Moon
A collection of Elvis Presley covers recorded by the duet David Fenech & Pierre Bastien

The idea of “Suspicious Moon” started at a party around the topic of blue color. David Fenech had chosen to play “Blue Moon” and Pierre Bastien asked to join in. It was a very enjoyable party and then they recorded the song and decided to plan an album exclusively based on covers of the King. Not that we were absolute fans of Elvis… but as a starting point to go somewhere else. And this is what we reached: in many aspects a premiere for the two musicians. Pierre focuses on (prepared) trumpet for the very first time, while David is heard extensively as a vocalist and is more than ever responsible for all arrangements and textures.

Playing other people’s material is also a premiere for both of them. 11 tracks around very well known standards. Like familiar places that are changed when seen in a different light. Please enjoy.

“Our choice of the Elvis Presley song book for this record may seem strange to many. It seems strange to me as well. Not that I dislike the original music, but before our sessions it had never been a direct source of inspiration. Paradoxically, this distance gave me freedom and flowing ideas. I hear similar qualities in David’s parts too. We hope that our relaxed attitude and its positive outcome will be reflected in this album” – Pierre Bastien

“The strange thing about these recordings is that the creative process was so fluid and natural… that it seems that through playing other people’s music, we almost reveal something of ourselves. As if these tracks were our creation, as if they were our own children!” – David Fenech

Pierre Bastien (born in 1953) is a French musician who builds his own machineries, at the cross between music and visual art, that blends live trumpet sounds with screen projections of on-site, mechanical sound sculptures in a very poetic way. His work is described as “a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music.”. Around 1986 he started participating in Pascal Comelade’s Bel Canto Orquesta. At the same time he created – and literally built – his own orchestra called Mecanium : an ensemble of musical automatons constructed from meccano parts and activated by electro-motors, that are playing on acoustic instruments from all over the world. Collaborating in the past with video artist Pierrick Sorin, fashion designer Issey Miyake, singer and composer Robert Wyatt and Aphex Twin (who released three of his albums on his label Rephlex) to name a few, he is one of the most influential experimental musicians working in the field. In 1986 he formed his own self made one man orchestra, Mecanium and made over 20 records over the years. “A mad musical scientist with a celebrity following” (The Guardian ).

Tracklisting :
01. Jailhouse Rock
02. Heartbreak Hotel
03. Are You Lonesome Tonight
04. Hound Dog
05. Love Me Tender
06. Suspiscious Minds
07. Don’t Be Cruel
08. Blue Moon
09. Bridge Over Troubled Water
10. Fever
11. In The Ghetto

David Fenech und Pierre Bastien covern Elvis Presley

Die beiden französischen Musiker David Fenech und Pierre Bastien bringen eine Sammlung von bekannten Songs des King of Rock’n’Roll heraus und huldigen dabei sämtlichen Abschnitten seines Werks. Ausgestattet mit Trompete, Mikro und einer Reihe an zum Teil obskuren Soundquellen haben die beiden bekannten Hits wie “Fever”, “Jailhouse Rock”, “Hound Dog”, “Love me Tender” und anderen eine neue Gewandung verpasst, bei der smoothe Bläserparts einer eher spröden Perkussivität, heiseren Vocals undjeder Menge Raseln und Kratzen gegenübersteht. Der Titel “Suspicious Moon” referiert auf die beidne Songtitel “Suspicious Minds” und “Blue Moon”, die bereits erhältlich sind. Das Album erscheint in wenigen Wochen als CD und Download bei Improved Sequence, verschiedene Vinyleditionen sind für Sommer geplant.

African Paper, Jan 2022 (link)

Unexpected and lokey brilliant Elvis covers from french troubadour David Fenech and cult instrument builder and composer Pierre Bastien. As you might expect from the names involved, their take on Elvis is radically oblique and serves to reset the coiffed rock ’n roll god’s legacy in a much smokier, Gallic light. As that implies, the songs are relatively straight-played – they’re not taking the piss – but completely drained of hip-thrust and Brylcreem and replaced in a starker, noirish mise-en-scene, limned by Pierre Bastien’s unusual but excellent use of prepared trumpet, and given shape and texture by Fenech’s arrangements, which relate as much to his work with avant crooner Ghédalia Tazartès as they do to a sequin-clad Presley. Trust that, beyond some avant working men’s club in Durham or David Lynch’s most fetid fantasies, you’ve never heard Elvis songs quite like this before. Drawing for the biggest hits, Fenech & Bastien exert singular spin on the originals, variously morphing ‘Fever’ into an experimental jazz club hush, and reducing ‘Jailhouse Rock’ to creepy vapours and bass thrum, while adapting the feel of ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ to something like a music box lullaby, and dialling down ‘Love Me Tender’ to its barest essence of heart-broken blues, while centrepiece ’Suspicious Minds’ is wholly transported Eastwards to recall a fantasy jam between CS + Kreme and Coil in a Bangkok jazz bar where daylight does not penetrate. Og and then there’s that water-boarded version of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’, with Bastien bleating his trumpet into a bucket of water. Quiet simply it’s a hugely enjoyable and charming album, certain to strike with fans of everyone from Lewis to Suicide, Nurse With Wound to The Caretaker and beyond.

Boomkat review – March 2022 (link)

French Avant-Garde Composers Get Weird With a Record of Elvis Presley Covers

Elvis Presley was many things: rock n roll luminary, Hollywood workhorse, peanut butter and banana sandwich maven. But rarely, if ever, is The King considered avant-garde. His music, movies and moves may have been rebellious at the outset, but it’s hard to deny that Elvis was entrenched in the mainstream for the whole of his career. This spring though, a pair of open-minded French musicians, David Fenech & Pierre Bastien, bring The King into uncharted, and decidedly more esoteric, cultural territory: the 21st-century noise-rock underground. Elvis swiveling around on bespoke Bandcamp pages and on limited white-label LP pressings — whoda thunk?

Suspicious Moon is Fenech and Bastien’s new album of purposefully experimental Elvis covers, released a couple of weeks ago by Italian record label Improved Sequence. The record draws its mash-up title from a collision of two of Presley’s most iconic hits; musically, too, Suspicious Moon uses Elvis’s music equally as a source of chaos. The title tracks in particular—“Suspicious Minds” and “Blue Moon”—toss around the songs’ raw parts with nothing to lose.

Using Presley as a jumping point for musical experiments was something that even Fenech and Bastien themselves didn’t anticipate until a chance meeting at a Parisian salon. The pair, who have quite a pedigree as performers and composers of their original work, describe their first impromptu performance of “Blue Moon” originating from a house party, themed around the color blue. Fenech began playing “Blue Moon” on a whim, and Bastien simply came along for the ride. In a statement accompanying the record’s release, Bastien elaborates on Suspicious Moon’s overall aims (or, really, lack thereof):

“Our choice of the Elvis Presley song book for this record may seem strange to many. It seems strange to me as well. Not that I dislike the original music, but before our sessions it had never been a direct source of inspiration. Paradoxically, this distance gave me freedom and flowing ideas. I hear similar qualities in David’s parts too. We hope that our relaxed attitude and its positive outcome will be reflected in this album.”

There’s nothing traditional about Suspicious Moon — the stunt of it all is the record’s prevailing through-line. Among the eleven cuts, “In the Ghetto” is the selection that coheres into something properly profound in its own right. But poke around the whole of Suspicious Moon and you’ll find Fenech and Bastien reveling in the outlandishness of their concept, bringing The King to unexpected and trippy extremes throughout.

Ben Easton, Cover Me – April 2022 (link)

La prossima, per esempio, arriva da un disco straordinario che si intitola Suspicious Moon, una crasi fra due celebri canzoni di Elvis Presley, Suspicious Mind e, appunto, e Blue Moon. David Fenech e Pierre Bastien, i due interpreti per questo disco della Improved Sequence. Appena uscito è successo che, invitato ad una festa sul tema del blu, David Fenech ha scelto di suonare Blue Moon e Pierre Bastien ha chiesto di poter partecipare a questa session. Di lì l’idea di continuare a procedere in questa nuova forma di canzone di reinterpretazione, prendendo appunto il catalogo della parte del catalogo di Elvis Presley per rifare alcuni suoi brani. I due musicisti si sono davvero divertiti a eseguire queste cover, pur sapendo e pur dichiarando entrambi di non essere particolarmente dei fan di Elvis Presley oppure di non conoscere così bene questo, questo repertorio. Questa possibilità, questa opportunità, appunto, di lavorare su un materiale, diciamo che non li coinvolgeva troppo. Li ha resi abbastanza liberi di eseguire una vera e propria dire autopsia sul corpus della musica del re del rock’n roll. Una dissezione, un’indagine approfondita sul su questa musica che viene spolpata, viene appunto privata della vita privata, di quella vitalità ondeggiante tipica del rock roll. La parola rock’n’roll, questo vuol dire fondamentalmente e anche tolta da quella pulsione vitale e sensuale tipica delle interpretazioni sia vocali che fisiche, di Elvis Presley. Un po di classici di Elvis ripensati, riletti alla maniera di David Fenech e Pierre Bastien. Un disco davvero straordinario e anche divertente. I brani, naturalmente, sono tutti dei classici come questo : Fever.

La Radio Uabab 304 – April 2022 (link)

Apropos Schwäche Scheinbar haben David Fenech und Pierre Bastien eine Schwäche für Elvis Presley, weil sie haben eine gesamte Platte, eine, ich glaube zwölf Stücke aufgenommen, wo sie auf ihre ganz, ganz, ganz spezielle Art und Weise Elvis Presley covern. Und wir hörten da aus dieser Platte Don’t be cruel. Und ja, es ist schon sehr, sehr eigen, wie das Ganze gecovert worden ist, aber ich glaube, so wird das Ganze interessant. Coverversionen sind für mich nur dann interessant, wenn damit mit dem Original auch was angestellt wird, was irgendwie kaputt gemacht wird oder zerrissen wird oder schöner gemacht wird oder was auch immer. Ja, Coverversionen und Collagen und Samples. Und so weiter. Das ist auch eine Sache, die ich doch sehr schätze. Und deswegen musste natürlich David Fenech und Pierre Bastien gespielt werden. Aber beide sind auch in anderen Zusammenhängen hier schon aufgefallen. Und Pierre Bastien mit seinen mechanischen elektronischen Instrumenten ist sowieso ein fantastischer Zeitgenosse, der wirklich großartige Sachen zusammenbaut. Und die Auftritte müssen auch ganz großartig sein, wenn man da so einer Mechanik gegenübersteht und sich dann das da anhört, was da passiert. Pierre Bastien, David Fenech…
Superstar Rotation mit Josef Bercek am Mikrofon – May 2022 (link)

Magnifique, nocturne, primitif, magnétique, étrange et sombre. L’album “Suspicious Moon” de David Fenech et Pierre Bastien qui ressuscite Elvis Presley est totalement envoûtant, sous le charme de cette lumière nocturne.

Nicolas Leto – September 2022

Pas besoin d’être un·e fanatique d’Elvis Presley pour aimer Suspicious Moon. On peut même penser qu’on s’en foutrait presque, bien que l’on reconnaisse sans problème tous les tubes du King repris ici par David Fenech et Pierre Bastien, de Blue Moon à Suspicious Minds – logiquement – en passant par Heartbreak Hotel ou In The Ghetto, en fait il n’y a que ça. Mais à la différence de l’album The King And I des Residents (1989) qui s’attelait ironiquement à la déconstruction d’une musique quasi sacrée et d’un mythe américain, celui des deux Français opte pour une voie ô combien plus poétique et intimiste. Au chant murmuré ou bancal et décalé de Fenech répond la trompette de Bastien sur fond de trames sonores mystérieuses et envoûtantes : on ne doutera pas qu’il s’agit d’abord là d’une belle rencontre entre deux personnalités aux horizons concordants et principalement mues par l’envie de jouer ensemble. On pourrait également évoquer un lien de parenté avec le Rock’n’Roll Station de Vince Taylor et Jac Berrocal versus Nurse With Wound pourtant Suspicious Moon se situe encore ailleurs, sur une planète satellite toujours inconnue, à moins qu’il ne s’agisse d’un endroit sur Terre inexploré et non souillé par les activités humaines, un endroit que chacune et chacun placera à sa guise. C’est la plus belle qualité de cette musique magiquement nocturne et suspendue d’affirmer sa force d’attraction onirique, avec humour et avec douceur, toujours dans le bricolage et avec moult trouvailles sonores, sans jamais rien effacer ou négliger de l’intime.

Hazam Modoff – Instant Bullshit (link)

We’ve got some weird stuff on this list, but I’m not sure anything compares to Suspicious Moon. David Fenech and Pierre Bastien are two experimental music composers in France. They break down 11 famous Elvis tunes into extremely out-there genre pieces that can sound like John Zorn (“Suspicious Minds”) or Philip Glass (“In the Ghetto”) or an old crooner record melting on a radiator (“Heartbreak Hotel”). You will know every one of the songs on this record, but you’ve never heard them anything like this.

Ray Padgett – CoverMeSongs TOP 25 2022 cover albums (link)