Charlotte Gainsbourg shares self-directed video for ‘Sylvia Says’

July 1, 2018



Charlotte Gainsbourg shares the self-directed music video for ‘Sylvia Says,’ one of the many striking tracks from her celebrated new album ‘Rest’ available on Because Music. The video, out now via Pitchfork TV, arrives following the release of ‘Sylvia Says Remixes’ earlier this month, an EP that boasts remixes from A-Trak, Tensnake, Breakbot, Jerge, Mind Enterprises, and Radio Slave. Gainsbourg, who plays shows in Los Angeles (Fonda Theatre, 20th July) and New York City (Panorama Festival, 27th July), is also appearing at various European festivals over the Summer.

On ‘Rest’, an intimate album that Charlotte Gainsbourg filled with ghosts, aching reminiscences and confrontations of loss, ‘Sylvia Says’’ “funky and delightful” tone and “Revolution-worthy bass groove” (Pitchfork) stands out—though the lyrics, referencing Sylvia Plath’s ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song,’ are far more elliptical and pensive. As Gainsbourg delivers a rapid-fire Plath-recitation—“’I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead’/Sylvia says/’I lift my lids and all is born again’/Sylvia says”—the song reveals its kinship with others on ‘Rest’, amplifying the intensity of achingly introspective moments.

In the music video, the visuals echo Plath and Gainsbourg’s abilities to mine huge themes from something as small as a blink of an eye, and similarly portray the unruly powers of subjectivity. Glassy winter sunlight shines on a pedestrian-packed city street scene, as Gainsbourg walks toward the crowd. The video first appears to be a slice-of-life view of New York City as the workday lets out and people begin their commutes—an already odd everyday experience, wholly isolated yet wholly public. But it quickly becomes unbound from visible reality, as we delve into a wild, more subconscious experience of the everyday onslaught of lives that pass by us in the street. Scenes are shot at extreme speeds on a Phantom camera, and the editing’s rhythmic jolts disorient any notion of normalcy, bringing about an escalating of surreal imagery. A walk among strangers in the middle of New York can also, obviously, be a nap in a cloud of disco balls.

Produced by SebastiAn (Frank Ocean, Kavinsky) and mixed by Tom Elmhirst (Adele, Lorde, David Bowie), ‘Rest’ is Gainsbourg’s fourth studio album and her first in seven years. The album was deemed Best New Music by Pitchfork, and called “gorgeous and assured,” (NPR) and “an album that comes directly from her heart.” (New York Times) The eleven songs on Rest are nothing if not sure-footed, proffering a compelling fusion of gleaming, string-emblazoned modern electro-pop and cinematically textured avant-chanson—their magical music box melodies kissed by bruised, introspective, occasionally disquieting lyrics.


Mon 2nd – Jazz Festival – Montreux, Switzerland
Weds 4th- Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark
Fri 6th – Festival Beauregard – Herouville-Saint-Clair, France
Weds 11th – Festival de Poupet – Saint-Malo’-du-Bois, France
Sat 14th – Cactus Festival – Bruges, Belgium
Mon 16th – Les Nuits de Forviere – Lyon, France
Tues 17th – Theatre Antique – Arles, France
Fri 20th – Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, USA
Fri 27th – Panorama Festival – New York, USA

Sat 4th – OFF Festival – Katwice, Poland
Thurs 9th – Way Out West Festival – Gothenburg, Sweden
Fri 10th – Øya Festivalen – Oslo, Norway
Sat 11th – Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland
Sun 19th – La Route Du Rock – Saint Malo, France
Fri 24th – Open Air Festival – Zurich, Switzerland
Sat 25th – Rock En Seine Festival – Paris, France

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