Saturday, 9 August 2014

Live this Sound: L'Amour, by Lewis.

Every once in a while, a record comes around that consumes you. It fills your waking hours. You think about it during the day, and you play it on constant repeat at night. You want to watch it; to read it; to swallow it whole.  Live this Sound is a regular section of this site that allows you to experience a single album as many ways as you possibly can. This week, we take a look at L'Amour, a lost album originally released by Lewis in 1983, that disappeared from the public eye until it was recently re-released to critical acclaim.

The Album.
Randall A. Wulff isn't the most romantic sounding name anyone has been slapped with, so perhaps it's no surprise that when the Canadian singer-songwriter released an album in 1983 he did so under the moniker Lewis. The album, L'Amour received almost no critical attention, and slipped into that dark realm of obscurity that all musicians fear, going ignored for almost 31 years until a collector snagged a copy in a flea market.
Finally, more than three decades after its release, the album is currently enjoying the success it should have always been accorded, with a beautiful re-issue released by those grand guys at Light in the Attic records.
Bottom line: we should all be thankful that Lewis' story has finally been given its well-deserved happy ending, because L'Amour is a beautiful album. It has a soft, considered quality that never becomes trite or melodramatic. As silly as that cover art might look, this is an album that breaks free of the constraints of its time - the 80's synths in this record never date the sound, or make it laughable. It's a timeless record in the truest sense of the word - powerful, understated and genuinely heartfelt. 
How to Eat This Album.
 L'Amour is an unashamedly romantic album - the songs contained inside wear their beating hearts proudly on their sleeves. This record has been carefully constructed to be played as you and your beloved dance a slow waltz, or sit down to a romantic dinner. As a result, the best way to eat this album is with somebody you care about, preferably over candles and a light fish dish. And, for that purpose, you can't beat a well cooked baked salmon, preferably served with asparagus and lemon drizzle. As always, knows where its at. Check out their recipe here:
And, what's a romantic dinner without a tastefully prepared dessert? If you've got the required cooking skills (and make no mistake, this is a pretty tricky one to get right) then you can't go wrong with a Dobos Torte. The multi-layered cake not only looks impressive, it also has the right air of mystery and exotic flavour to perfectly suit a record that is surrounded in as much mystique as a stranger on a dark night. Here's a recipe for ya:
How to Drink this Album.
L'Amour isn't a cocktail album: for all of its bells and whistles, this record works best because of its simplicity. As a result, with this one, go with a good trusted white wine. As silly as the bottle (and name) might appear, Arrogant Frog is actually a beautifully restrained white. It doesn't try to overload you with flavours - it's a very drinkable, very understated wine. Like Lewis, it gets to the point, and simply works (and it won't beak your bank balance, either.)
How to Watch This Album.
With an album like this, you need a good old fashioned romance: my personal pick then would be the heart-meltingly simple L'Atalante. The film, written and directed by Jean Vigo, was released in 1934, and since then has repeatedly been referred to as one of the greatest films of all time. It's a black and white tale of a sailor and his wife and the love that keeps them together, even when they occasionally fall apart. It's one of the most down to earth films of the era - there's not half as much melodrama in here as there were films of the time. It's just an expertly told love story, as refreshing as it is loveable.
 L'Atalante's celebrated underwater dance scene.
While we're on the French film route, you can't beat Stolen Kisses, Francois Truffaut's 1968 sequel to his film The 400 Blows. Whereas The 400 Blows was a film with a rebellious heart, Stolen Kisses see its protagonist and director soften a little. There's still a lot of passion to the film, but it's ultimately a sweetly simple romance that allows its hero Antoine Doinel to love and be loved, in the most satisfactory of ways.
How to Read This Album.
Poetry of the heart is the way to go with this one: nothing beats reading the work of Rainer Maria Rilke while settling back to Lewis' masterful record. My personal favourite Rilke has to be "Again and Again, However We Know the Landscape of Love." Read it here:

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