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Chocolate Genius

The news hit on one of the dying days of summer during a quick visit to No Format’s offices: Chocolate Genius, the voice of a lost and forgotten century, was making a comeback after five years of silence. We couldn’t take the pretty music we heard that day with us, but made an appointment for the beginning of the school year.

When we were finally certain we’d be meeting the composer of Black Music , we couldn’t stop listening to Swansong . We couldn’t tell whether we loved it or not, as even if the songs are beautiful as a sunset, they are also ostentatiously ornate and disguised. We were nevertheless as excited as cats in heat over the idea of hearing these melodies in the bareness of a Take-Away Show. Even more so when we learned that Vincent Segal, a longtime fan and collaborator, and Seb Martel, the virtuoso guitarist of Las Ondas Marteles, would take part.

The first good idea we had was to bring shoot them in an abandoned space. Since Chocolate Genius writes songs about loss, desolation, collapse. Amongst the crumbling brick, his voice didn’t need to make itself comfortable, or to take precautions – it was right where it belonged. And no, if you need to ask, it’s not an apology for Polanski, it’s just a story of flight and desertion.

The Take-Away Shows are full of children in gardens. Usually, they catch on to the game or to the rhythm. Not here. The only moment of childlike wonder played out on Vincent Segal’s face, happy to have landed on his feet out of an acrobatic solo conducted in tandem with Seb Martel. The children around were intrigued, but not wholly assured. The voice was too old, too desolate for them. It spoke of things they were years away from knowing. “I’m half the man you suggested, but I’m twice the man you signed on to…”

One of them, though, maybe more attentive, maybe more reserved, one who stayed closest to this imposing voice and who heard in this tone something that already spoke to him. But I could just be extrapolating here.

Translated by Tara Dominguez