I love Saint Etienne - this album is a look at a historical future, pop ambient at its finest. The samples are abstract to say the least, but work beautifully with the mood of the album. Perfect for these upcoming Autumn evenings and beyond.
Favorite track: Pond House.
Thirty years on from their groundbreaking debut Foxbase Alpha, the much-loved London trio Saint Etienne announce their 10th studio album I’ve Been Trying To Tell You slated for release on September 10th via Heavenly Recordings.
The album was made largely from samples and sounds drawn from the years 1997-2001, a period that was topped and tailed by Labour's election victory and the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Was the optimism of that era a lost golden age, or was it a period of naïvety, delusion and folly? The collective folk memory of any period differs from the lived reality. I’ve Been Trying To Tell You is an album about memory, how it works, how it tricks you and creates a dream-like state. It also taps into the way we think of our youth, a sense of place, and where we come from.
For the first time, Saint Etienne didn't record together in a studio. The album was completed remotely, in Hove (Pete Wiggs), Oxford (Sarah Cracknell) and Bradford (Bob Stanley), in collaboration with film and TV composer Gus Bousfield, who contributes to a number of tracks).
“To me it’s about optimism, and the late nineties” Bob explains “and how memory is an unreliable narrator. Pete and Gus have done a properly amazing production job. I think it sounds gorgeous.”
Sarah: “It's the first sample driven album we’ve made since So Tough and it’s been a really refreshing experience, such fun! It’s both dreamy and atmospheric, late summer sounds.”
Pete: “We've really pulled apart and dived deep into the samples; the concept and each of our interpretations of it have made this a very special sounding album, we hope you think so too."
The album is accompanied by a specially-made film directed by the acclaimed photographer and film-maker Alasdair McLellan who also did all the stills photography for the record. There's a whole lifetime's worth of locations in there - Avebury, Portmeirion, Doncaster, Grangemouth as well as London. Evoking the era through the fog of memory, the resulting film is beautiful, hypnotic and all-enveloping.
Alasdair says “My starting point was an interpretation of my memories from the time I first started to listen to Saint Etienne’s music. Of course, it is an interpretation of what I was doing then while looking back at it now. At that time, I was a bored teenager in a village near Doncaster, South Yorkshire; it was a place where very little happened. I now look back at that time as something quite idyllic – even the boredom seems idyllic – and a big part of its soundtrack was Saint Etienne.”
supported by 97 fans who also own “I've Been Trying To Tell You”
Like so many others, this came like a bolt out of the blue and, even though it's well before payday, I had to have this astonishing album on vinyl to prove it exists. The feel of the tunes makes me feel like the Impressions do, Curtis Mayfield, the big spaces and instinctive horns and stuff drifting in and out. Great grooves and I can see lots of ghosts nodding along to this with big smiles on their faces. At last! Anthony Cottrell
supported by 90 fans who also own “I've Been Trying To Tell You”
My favorite artists are ones who aren't afraid to try something completely different. I hear Charles Stepney, David Axelrod's Earth Rot, Steve Reich, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and others in this, but it's undeniably Sault in the end. As usual, probably my favorite album of the year. mackro