Features / Retrospective

Retrospective | Lizzy Mercier Descloux

This month’s Golden Oldies take us back to the the 70s no wave movement in that backstreets of Paris where Lizzy Mercier Descloux developed her sparse, minimalist, free-flowing rhythms.

A precocious and intellgent teenager Descloux moved to at the age of 18 where she hung out with Patti Smith and Richard Hell who based a character in his novel on her. Hell described Descloux as seeming to “come from another dimension”, a description that was certainly apt for Descloux’s confident and creative character.

As a self taught guitarist her music was minimalist but vital. She used quite feminine rhythms, not unlike The Raincoats and Kleenex, and funky rhythms inspired by world music to create her own style.

Her debut album, Press Colour, was released in 1979. From it my favourite song has to be ‘Fire’ a dancable, disco-like track that could have easily just covered old ground but instead Descloux challenges the listener to great effect.

Later in her career Descloux became more and more influenced by African music which can be seen in her second album Mambo Nassau and her 1984 single ‘Mais où Sont Passées les Gazelles?’ which was a hit in France.

Descloux had a ten year music career through which she released six albums and garnered some critical acclaim. She moved to Corsica in the 90s to focus on painting and writing.

Unfortunately Descloux passed away after a battle with cancer in 2003 but she will always be remembered as one of the most inventive and minimalist artists to emerge out of the 70s no wave movement.

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