London duo Eli & Fur’s captivating deep-house influenced remix is a perfect coda to Fougére’s (Jamie Norton) haunting piano-driven release ‘Still Life’ out now through Studio Fougére.
Lifted from Fougére’s debut album which is out now, the remix fuses haunting bass-lines over delicate textural sounds. Eli & Fur say: “When we were sent the Fougére album we were excited to do something as it stood out as being really different to anything we have done before. He’s an incredibly talented pianist and all the tracks were beautiful. We sampled parts of the piano on ‘Still Life’ and added the electronic elements that felt true to us. The remix was made in lockdown whilst dreaming of the summer.”
As a work of ten piano-only pieces, ‘Still Life’ sits within the same musical canon as Nils Frahm and Max Richter, but is truly his own, guided by his own unique inspirations. Having composed under his birth name for so long, Norton took his moniker ‘Fougère’ from one of his passions: smell. It’s the term for one of the main fragrance families, one that tends to have sweet lavender top notes with woodier, oakmoss undertones. He wanted his music to occupy a space and give a floating sense of calmness in the same way a fragrance would: “That’s why I sit at the piano. It’s meditative for me.”
A long love of architecture also guided Fougère on the record – he’s always been drawn to the calming, open designs of Belgian architect Vincent van Duysen – minimalist, but never cold. Those timeless, clean spaces became the visual reference points for the record, with Fougère wondering: What music would be playing in that space? He decided to think like an architect: “Why do we create these environments that we come home to? What is the need that we’re looking to fill when we’re doing that? I wanted to write music in the same way that an architect would make that space.” Along with minimalist furniture designer Donald Judd, he also references French composer Erik Satie’s concept of ‘furniture music’. “It sounds like quite a negative thing, but it’s music that should occupy a space, like furniture does, rather than demanding to be front and centre. I really like that phrase.”
Selecting the right artwork was an important step in the project for the visually-minded Fougère, who chose Lana Del Rey and Tame Impala collaborator Neil Krug and his vintage, psychedelic photography. After the pair chatted about the record, Krug said he completely understood Norton’s vision, crafting a series of snapshots of night time flora, desert plants, sun-bleached oceans and lost desert roads that complement the fragile yet urgent key strokes on the record.
As an artist whose fingerprints are all over some of the most recognisable pop hits in the UK, Fougère will soundtrack a different time, one where people have been slowing down, and becoming more contemplative. Though he composed the LP when the world was in a different place, there’s a sense that the record can offer a much-needed calmness to cut through the noise. In his words, “I hope people get out of it what I get from sitting at a piano.”