Executive production: Laurent Bizot & Thibaut Mullings
Co-produced by David Neerman & Frédéric Soulard
Lansiné Kouyaté - balafon
David Neerman - electric & acoustic vibes, drums (tracks 4,9),
bass synth (track 4)
Antoine Simoni - bass, bass synth (track 9)
David Aknin - drums, additional drums (tracks 4,9)
Recorded at Studio Val d'Orge, Epinay-sur-Orge,
from September 14th to 19th 2010
by Frédéric Soulard, assisted by Pierre Favrez
except Dietou recorded at Studio Pigalle, Paris, on November 8th 2010
By Frédéric Soulard, assisted by François Gueurce
Mixed at Studio Soyuz, Paris
from October 11th to 20th and on November 20th and 21st 2010
by Frédéric Soulard & David Neerman,
assisted by Benjamin and Malcom Neerman
Mastered by Chab
at studio Translab, Paris, on December 7th 2010
Ballaké Sissoko - kora on Dietou
Anthony Joseph - lead vocals on Haïti - courtesy of Heavenly Sweetness
All songs composed by Lansiné Kouyaté and David Neerman, published by Nø Førmat!
except Requiem pour un con (S. Gainsbourg, M. Colombier) published by Hortensia SARL
and Kalo Dié (L. Kouyaté, D. Neerman, D. Aknin, A. Simoni)
published by Nø Førmat!
Kouyaté without Neerman is Lansiné Kouyaté. A Parisian griot, a balafon virtuoso from the region of Kangaba in Mali, a child born among musicians (he is the son of the great singer Siramory Diabaté, whose husband accompanied her on the balafon), an early musical prodigy who learned the ropes with the National Orchestra of Mali before playing with the stars of world music (Salif Keita, Mory Kanté, Omar Sosa, Cheick Tidiane Seck...).
Neerman without Kouyaté is David Neerman. A French musician who expanded on his training (classical percussions and the piano) by choosing an instrument that is both keyboard and percussions, the vibraphone, who meandered through various eclectic projects (jazz, world, electro, noise, with Youn Sun Nah, Anthony Joseph, Alice Lewis,Krystle Warren...), as long as they smelled of adventure.
Kouyaté-Neerman, is much more than the simple pairing of two men, two cultures or two musical styles. When they started playing together eight years ago, David Neerman and Lansiné Kouyaté knew that their instruments were distant cousins. At the heart of the vibraphone beats the balafon and inversely. However, the musical dialogue they inaugurated is not limited to some kind of geneological quest. These two men share something else:they are both curious, they both have this urge to express something trully personal, and they both want to make sure that the crossing of their paths paves a newer and longer road.They know their history (the mandinke tradition, jazz), but both very much live in the present. With Kangaba, their first album (recorded with a rythm section), released in the summer of 2008 they created a glorious future for themselves. Kangaba is the name of the ancient Mandinke capital, here visited in a dream after a wanderer’s journey that could have gone through New York and Jamaica. Well received by critics, the record gave the opportunity to the duet to tour alot and as such, to strengthen their performance, provide more substance to their music and discover new energies.
Skyscrapers & Deities, their second album recorded last fall in an analog studio in the parisian suburbs, is the result of this evolution. Lansiné still plays like he’s stirring up tropical rains on water lilies and David has still plugged (or even more) his vibraphone on bizarre pedal effects (Distorsions, wah-wah). The duo is backed up by a new rythm section, that accompanied them on tour: Antoine Simoni on the double bass and David Aknin on the drums, two musicians open to the rythms of rock and hip-hop. The name of the album,Skyscrapers and Deities comes from the spoken-word lyrics of special guest and only voice on the album Anthony Joseph on the track «Haiti». The other guest on the album is the legendary kora player Ballaké Sissoko, long time friend of Lansiné, since they both played in the National Orchestra of Mali.
Skyscapers inspire modernity, altitude and a panoramic point of view. Deities inspire ancestral magic, spirits, be they from the forest or the clouds . The album floats in between all these things, between the horizon and vertigo, technology and spiritualism. « With this record, we reached a new dimension », says David Neerman, « Lansiné and I know and understand each other better. We do everything with joy, it’s getting easier and easier, we’re not afraid to let the music take us where it wants to take us ». On a quest for their roots ? No. Farther and higher. Skyscrapers & Deities is a canopy record, this special space where the higher reaches of the forest meet with the atmosphere and the sunlight. The roots are there but far away. The branches are the ones that join together. The treetops quivered (as Homer would say). In this record, one will of course hear the Mandinke tradition and the jazz, but also the influences of dub, ethiopian jazz, Serge Gainsbourg (with their cover of « Requiem pour un c ... »), film scores for pictures that still need to be shot, or even a scale of hungarian music. Influences like shiny reflexions, subliminal echoes, lightning bolts in a sky of animated, liberated and contemporary music.
In the second episode of their adventures, David Neerman and Lansiné Kouyaté manage to square the circle : they invent the world of today’s world - music, where the material possibility of going anywhere faster must not make us forget that we must travel lightly and always deeply, like an explorer, on a quest for mystery, hallucinations and the thrill of a fever.