Chassol is the Solange collaborator blurring the boundary between film and music
We premiere the new video for Savana, Céline, Aya Pt.I & II.
French experimentalist Chassol is renown for his vision. Having worked on both Frank Ocean and Solange’s latest albums, the Paris-based producer, filmmaker and composer has developed an approach – known as ‘ultrascore’ – to making music that’s unlike any other artist working today. Initially inspired by the work of Steve Reich, Chassol blends the audio and visual elements of his work into a seamless whole, folding sound from his videos and into his tracks and treating his videos like pieces of music.
His upcoming project, Ludi, encompasses a double album, feature film and live show, all helmed by Chassol himself. Due out in March, it’s perhaps his most ambitious work yet and latest single Savana, Céline, Aya (Pt.2) serves as the perfect example of his multidisciplinary approach. Today we premiere the new visual for both part one and part two of the track which further blurs the line between music video and audiovisual art. We also caught up with Chassol to learn more about ultrascores, his work on When I Get Home and Ludi. Watch the video below and read the interview after the jump.
Your new record is quite an ambitious project – a double album, feature film and live show. How does each part fit into it and what are you hoping to achieve with the whole thing?
I guess what I want to achieve is to live the life I wanted to live when I was 17, meaning the life of a film composer who performs his albums wherever he’s hired.
Are you directing the film itself? How do you balance working on an album and feature-length project at once?
Yes sir! I do. I balance those two works at once by thinking that editing is composing, and that composing is editing. More specifically, I have a music software and an editing software open at the same time, and I go back and forth.
What can you tell us about your ‘ultrascore’ approach?
Oh, I can tell you that I made this neologism in 2005 just to organize my computer files of video harmonisations. But it stayed when I started the interviews for my first album. In my mind, it is a film or video whose music is made with the concrete sounds of the video itself.
It is a “score” that is “ultra” because it is supposed to be very objective as it is using sounds that already exist in the film. And it was thought a little bit like a joke… like a superhero-composer who would fly with his fist in front of him, shouting, “ULTRASCOOOOOOOORE!!!!”
Anyway, you make things exist more when you name them… so!
"Hand games are the purest form to have fun, because you don't need anything else but you, somebody else and hands"
You worked with Solange on When I Get Home. What can you tell us about that process?
I can tell you that if I had been asked to describe the coolest studio session of 1973 with the finest Afro-American musician on top of the hills of Los Angeles, in a 360-degree view wooden house, with very thick white carpet led by a very down to earth, beautiful, intelligent star singer, it would have looked like what I experienced with Solange.
The process was… Solange getting together fine musicians, herself and her sound engineer… throwing ideas… then she did her thing.
As for some of the tracks I am on, on the album, we recorded a conversation we had – Solange and I – and then I used some of the words to harmonise them… and then she worked her alchemy thing on it.
What’s the story behind Savana, Céline, Aya, Pt. I & II?
Ludi speaks about the Game, the act of playing. It embraces the big spectrum of the classification of games (which includes competition, chance, role-playing and vertigo).
I decided I would film a basketball game, a rollercoaster and video games, but I knew I would find the whole aspect of that classification by filming a school playground.
So we stayed for two days in May 2018 in a school near Paris, shooting in the playground. One of the groups I’ve worked with is this trio of 9/10-year-old girls playing hand games, that we captured with a low angle shot thinking we were Terrence Malik.
They were just playing hand games, and I just asked them to play the same game but this time with saying their names at the same time. Just after this sequence, we have Crystal Kay from Tokyo saying that she thinks hand games are the purest form to have fun, because you don’t need anything else but you, somebody else and hands.
Ludi is released 6 March via Tricatel