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Thursday, Dec 08 2005 | 13:01

Yes, the man is French, and considers himself as an open minded cook, defending the “art of living” à la française. Mixing ingredients, as the unique menu he’s prepared for you: A little bit of those nights where he played with Bugge Wesseltoft, Akosh, Helen Merrill or Rona Hartner, the scores he wrote for cinema or TV (MTV, MCM, Canal+), music for classic and modern dance ballets, remixes (like the famous one of François de Roubaix for Cinemix) and of course the long hours on his radio show, “Le meilleur des mondes”, where he combines, twice a month, the soundtrack of a movie and a musical selection, to “give to the audience another way of seeing with ears”. And of course a mixture of those gigs in NYC, Paris or Sarajevo … All those moments and a thousand more are the essential roots of “French Cuisine”.

You will recognize the voices of Shirley Horn, Anna Karina, Nina Simone (“Deadly species”), David Linx (“Les 4 vents”), Ana Carril (“L’amor”, who Alif met as she was singing for Manu Chau’s former band Mano Negra), Maurice el Medioni (“Malika”), famous pianist of Lili Boniche or more recently rai super star Khaled. A homage to Franz Schubert (The Opus 100 interludes), to Steve Reich (“Mélismes extatiques”) … All those different universes are mixed with grace by Alif Tree.

As a musician (guitar, voice, keyboards, percussion …), Alif is a fervent defender of acoustic sounds, from philharmonic music to pop via jazz and world music. A sound-engineer and producer skilled in digital techniques, he has been navigating through the universe of recording-studios, sound-stages and television, as much as record-labels, for the past fifteen years. The voyager, who tele-transported himself to Normandy a few years ago, has now finally found the right compromise between urbanity and wide, open spaces, installing his own studio in Marseille at the end of 1999: “Here life is more cool, people aren’t as blasé as they are in Paris. There’s a genuine laboratory here where you can use your imagination and concoct all kinds of mixtures, even the most improbable.”

In February 2000 he signed with M10 for “The Observatory”, a first album that scrutinized, in the distance, the possible future of electronic music. In the press, critics welcomed this clairvoyant point of view with interest. “Between pop melancholy, West Coast groove and ethnic reflections, the first album from Alif Tree inscribes itself in the composite logic of tomorrow’s downbeat: pop fragrances, science-fiction nuggets, jazz, exotic savours, this first Alif Tree album does without glutamate”, wrote Yann Quélennec in the columns of “Coda”.

Having crossed over into the third millennium, Alif signed with Universal Music Jazz and has come out with “Spaced”, an opus that points, like E.T.’s finger, to visions perceived from his observatory. Sailing the seven seas of space in zero gravity, between trip-hop under classical influence, instrumental hip-hop and jazzy electronica, these ten tracks go head-to-head against the current trends, which would have all down-tempo electro composers produce soundtracks for imaginary movies.

And then Alif, for almost three years, explored and went on, meeting musicians and artists, stages and studios, collected sounds and atmospheres, scenes and moods to bring, “French Cuisine”, the third album.

Tracklisting:

01. Deadly Species
02. Belle
03. Enough
04. Forgotten Places
05. My Soul
06. Rain River
07. I Feel Blue
08. L’amour Nunca Muere
09. Les 4vents
10. Mélismes Extatiques

The album Alif TreeFrench Cuisine” (Compost) is going to be released February 03, 2006.

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