Wednesday, October 4, 2017

3 Feet High & Rising: Guillaume Destot AKA Vim Cortez Re-emerges As NATION with Future Soul-minded Baltimore Rising EP (Kromatik Records)

"NATION is a Paris-based project that combines Pop song-writing with futuristic R&B influences. It showcases a synth-heavy, brooding brand of Future Soul and some of their preferred themes like complicated love, existential doubt, and the way music can repair our souls," read part of an email I recently received from MusigaMy founder Philippe Manivet. NATION is just the latest alias of French song-writer and multi-instrumentalist Guillaume Destot AKA Vim Cortez AKA Vim le Commodore. Destot's latest release and first billed as "NATION" is a 2-track EP titled Baltimore Rising, which I would fittingly describe as a stylistic mix between The Postal Service and Mayer Hawthorne & The County with a hint of "Get Lucky"-era Daft Punk thrown in, for good measure. NATION's Facebook page (The Sound of NATION) readily lists Guillaume & Co.'s influences as Little Dragon, D'Angelo, Jai Paul, Ben Khan, James Blake, NAO, Jamie Lidell, Mura Masa, Raphael Saadiq, Prince, Nina Simone, Otis Redding, and Bill Withers. NATION's Future Soul-minded debut, Baltimore Rising EP is currently available for streaming and download on Apple Music, Google Play, Soundcloud, Spotify, YouTube, etc. as well as Bandcamp as part of the subscription-only NATION Club; "for the first 30 subscribers, you'll also get a cool, super-limited edition cassette with hand-printed, numbered linograph artwork. Side A is [the Baltimore Rising] EP and Side B, an audio slice of NATION's offline life."

"'Baltimore Rising" was inspired by the 2015 events in Baltimore following Freddie Gray's death. I was deeply moved by Freddie Gray's story, of course, but also, by the reaction of the community and the sense of human tragedy that seemed to pervade the atmosphere; although, I watched it from very far away. I started imagining what could happen, in the mind of a cop, in front of such grief, shared by so many people (the "heaving tide" in the song) as he realizes that he's on the wrong side of history and humanity. Musically speaking, it's hard to pinpoint where the riff came from; although, there are always traces of my obsession with 80's synth music, but the riff's bittersweet—insistent presence translates the mixture of despair and hope that the events inspired me [in Baltimore]."

"'Computer Purple" is, similarly, a combination of several sources of inspiration. The title might remind the listener of Prince's song, "Computer Blue" and this is no accident, as Prince was, and still is, a huge influence for me. I think I hear something of Prince, especially 80's Prince, in the beat and the way I used the synths. But the lyrics are also inspired by Ridley Scott's Blade Runner, a movie that was extremely influential for me and that still fuels my imagination. The theme of trans-humanism is coming back under the spotlight and the question of how we'll deal with machines that might have more "soul" than many humans we know. I find the notion of "soul" complex, fascinating, and problematic and looking at it it through the prism of humans/machines relationships, makes it even more thought-provoking for me. Especially, when love is thrown into the equation!"

- Guillaume Destot (NATION)

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