April 26, 2007


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Emilie Simon, March of the Empress
Milan Records, 2007

Since this isn’t an import, the splash headline here is that you can finally buy an Emilie Simon record for less than the cost of a tank of gas, and this is the one you want, anyway, the bizarre little collection of icicle-clinking, glitchy electro she wrote for the film March of the Penguins. One of Simon’s other personalities excreted The Flower Book last year – a grubby zoetrope of Goldfrapp second-guessing her existence over Vicodin and Stohlies, in a nutshell – which went over big in her native France, not that that’s immensely difficult, but her crowning achievement to date remains this award-winning LP. Caveat emptor for filthy Americans: these pieces were included only on the original French soundtrack (La Marche de L’Empereur) where the rest of the world got stuck with Alex Wurman’s Hollywood-workaday score. That probably made good business sense, being that Simon insisted on adding vocals to five songs (her voice is a bee-stung, blank-stare whisper akin to Charlotte Gainsbourg or El Perro del Mar), but it’s a bummer for the rest of us, as Simon’s ideas are much more l’experimental and l’contemporary. She also had a better grasp of the seriocomic thread of the film, as demonstrated in the tableau of block-headed menace she fingerpaints in “Attack of the Killer Birds.” B- — Eric W. Saeger