For this third opus, the singer-songwriter drew his inspiration from a number of classical composers. Robert Schumann, at the end of his life, claimed that the voices of past composers were instructing him what to play. As Philippe tells it, I tried to listen to what these famous ghosts - of Ravel, Strauss, Schubert, Vivaldi - had to say. Every aspect of their work was about exploration, introspection and reinterpretation. While trying to decipher what these things meant to him, his creative process was fuelled by the music itself. Samples, passages lifted from canonical pieces, melodies, anecdotes from the life of a composer, and even the titles of certain oeuvres all found their way onto the album.
Thematically, the lyrics on Variations Fantômes reflect the concerns of these classical works: beauty, melancholy, faith, love and death. Although impregnated with external influence, the songs remain personal. With his unique wordplay and his ability to create worlds through images, Philippe B weaves stories of passion, remorse and torment.
Philippe B pairs the poetic lyrics with a guitar-based modern folk that is both moving and intense. The result is a harmonious mix of samples, guitars, keys and violins, that veers between the rhythmic and the calm; above all, it's a musical dialogue between the singer-songwriter and the ghosts of the great composers.
To complement the album release, 14 photographers have each visually interpreted one of the songs on Variations Fantômes. The photos, included in the album booklet, were presented at an exhibition at the OFF-Interarts Gallery in May 2011.
ABOUT PHILIPPE B
Known for his talents as a writer, composer and performer - notably hired by Pierre Lapointe - Philippe B's music is a folk hybrid in which samples and acoustic and electric frequencies are cleverly mixed together. Wanting to explore new artistic horizons, he recently took on the roles of musical director and performing musician for the show Raxon X: A True Decoy Story. In September of 2009, this multi-talented artist presented, alongside Sophie Cadieux, the multimedia show Phéromone(s), an intimate evening of words put to music and interpreted in various creative ways.
Since arriving on the scene as a solo artist in June 2005 with an eponymous folk-minimalist album, Philippe B has not ceased to seduce critics and fans alike. With a poetry at once earthy and celestial, he describes characters, places, and moments in time, capturing them in song form. Of his second album Taxidermie, out in 2008, Bande à Part wrote A beautiful disc that reveals the scope of Philippe B's melodic and lyrical talent. On his own or as a guitarist for others, Philippe has for the past few years been a regular on Quebec stages, notably at the Francofolies de Montréal and the Festival de Musique Emergente in Abitibi-Témiscamingue. With the release of his third album Variations Fantômes this coming May confirms Voir magazine's prediction from 2008: The future works of the singer-songwriter promise to be even more audacious, inventive and creative.
Peu de formations chantaient d'ailleurs en français, à l'exception du plateau Franco M au Café Campus, où se distingue le folk poétique de Philippe B, accompagné d'un quatuor à cordes.
Rolling Stone France, janvier 2013
One of the most remarkable records ever recorded here in Quebec. [...] His lyrics will startle any of you who might be songwriter and will inspire and impress any of you who love profoundly personal and brilliantly honest poetry.
Jim Corcoran, CBC // A Propos, January 22 2012
Un des grands auteurs-compositeurs-interprètes québécois
Olivier Robillard Laveaux, Voir TV, 7 décembre 2011
La Presse, 3 décembre 2011
Juan Rodriguez, The Gazette, August 2011
André Péloquin, Hour Community, August 4 2011
Un artiste majeur qu'il faut mettre à l'avant-plan.
Philippe Papineau, Le Devoir, 20 juin 2011
Francis Hébert, Voir, 7 juin 2011
Philippe Papineau, Le Devoir, 29 avril 2011
Julie Ledoux, BangBang Blog, 21 avril 2011
mamereetaithipster.com, 19 avril 2011
- 12.04.2012 — La Presse
- 02.18.2012 — Le Devoir — L'Intégrale des Variations fantômes
- 02.18.2012 — The Gazette — Photos of L'Intégrale des Variations fantômes concert
- 02.11.2012 — La Presse
- 02.09.2012 — Voir Montréal — Cover for Montréal en Lumière
- 02.09.2012 — Voir Québec — Cover for show at Le Cercle
- 02.07.2012 — Le Soleil
- 02.04.2012 — Bouillant de culture || Première Chaîne — Perfo
- FrancoFolies de Montréal (2012, 2011, 2008, 2007, 2006)
- Montreal High Lights Festival (2012)
- Festival de la chanson de Tadoussac (2012, 2007)
- Coup de coeur francophone (2011, 2009)
- Festival de Musique Émergente en Abitibi- Témiscamingue (2011, 2008, 2005)
- Festival de musique de chambre (2009)
- Relève la Relève (2009)
- Off coup de cœur francophone (2005)
- 2012 GAMIQ Award for Video of the Year for Petite leçon de ténèbres (directed by GPG)
- Nominated at GAMIQ 2012 for Artist of the Year and Show of the Year
- Nominated at l'ADISQ 2012 in the Videoclip of the Year category for Petite leçon de ténèbres (directed by GPG)
- Nominated at the 11th Annual Independent Music Awards in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter Album category (2012)
- Nominated at 2011 GAMIQ for Singer-Songwriter Album of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year
- Nominated at 2011 ADISQ's Gala de l'industrie for Album artwork of the year and Arranger of the year
- Nominated for the 2011 ECHO Songwriting Prize
- Panache for Singer-Songwriter Album of the Year at 2008 GAMIQ
- 2006 Sacré Talent - Espace Musique
- Prix de Résidence at RIDEAU 2005
- Nominated for the 2006 Prix Félix-Leclerc de la chanson
- Nominated at 2006 MIMI for the Fountains Award
- Nominated at 2006 GAMIQ for Pop/Folk Album of the Year