Etienne Daho “Pop Satori” 1986

Etienne Daho was a pretty big star in France and he wanted to make his new album Pop Satori  in London, with Torch Song producing.

At that time the band were trying to get their second album finished and released so it fell to me to take the controls. Etienne had already sent over a multitrack of his recent single for us to play with. Tombé Pour La France was insanely catchy euro pop, style français. The B side, Ballade De Edie S, was highly intriguing, an homage to the Warhol star with a strange, writhing and reaching melody, and an arrangement somewhat reminiscent of Nino Rota but altogether new at the same time. This was my first hearing of the compositional skills of Arnold Turboust, who became a good friend and with whom I am still working.

So Etienne and Arnold, and Arnold’s lovely fiancée Tess, and guitarist Xavier “Tox” Geronimi, all turned up in Maida Vale for the recording. I seem to recall things going very smoothly after some initial bumps. I know I spent a long time pounding on an Emu SP12 drum machine, on which I pretty much did every drum track.

Having got most of the album in the can it was decided to return to Paris to finish it, which was just fine by me, and so ensued a magical few weeks mixing this great work and running around the “city of light”. I am featuring three selections, two from the album and one that William remixed later. Paris Le Flore is the most beautiful track and the one that reminds me most of that time with ethereal backing vocals from Laurie Mayer. 40000 Années D’Horreur is my compositional contribution to the album. Epaule Tattoo is the superb mix William Orbit did of the album’s first single.

5 thoughts on “Etienne Daho “Pop Satori” 1986

  1. postpunkmonk February 6, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    I was lucky enough to have seen the great clip for “Tombé Pour La France” on MTV International. My second good fortune was to know Ron Kane. Ron was a friend of a friend who worked for a company that imported records and he set me up with my first three Etienne Daho CDs around the time of “Pop Satori.” Was there ever a title that was more evocative of the contents of an album? Daho’s talent for winning melody coupled with his insouciant vocal charm and the support of the team here was phenomenal. As a Torch Song fan hanging on to “Wish Thing” and waiting for more, this was a real gift.

    For a digital production, the warmth and richness of the project stands apart from what others were releasing during this period. I’m usually all about analog synths but this album proved that great work could be done with digital synths if care was taken and there was inventiveness instead of laziness at the mixing board. At a time when the UK acts that I loved were crashing and burning fiercely, this CD was the vector of infection for at least ten years of Francophilia for me, at least until the French turned to hip-hop in the mid 90s! I still follow Daho’s work, but need to catch up. The last albums I bought [during my last visit to Toronto] date back 14 years!


  2. ricoconning February 9, 2015 / 6:10 am

    Wow you really know your 80s…it’s nice to know some erudite souls outside of France were into this stuff. Les Rita Mitsouko were another brilliant french act, criminally underrated everywhere else.


  3. postpunkmonk February 21, 2015 / 7:32 pm

    Les Rita Mitsouko? Underrated…?! Not in my house! Excellent production for them from giants: Plank and Visconti!


    • ricoconning February 21, 2015 / 9:12 pm

      Sure, but something as fabulous as “Marcia Baïla” should have been massive the world over…I actually played on William’s mix of “Tongue Dance” so I’ll feature that one if I can find a video.


      • postpunkmonk February 21, 2015 / 9:15 pm

        That’s right! The Guerilla Studios connection was there on the “RE” album!


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