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Album Review: Noblesse Oblige – ‘In Exile’

‘This is soooo fresh! I love the whole electro-Afro Highlife influences - fucking cool with a twist of synth heaven aka Jean Michelle Jarre on the set of a Wolfgang Petersen shoot ... Fucking awesome! My mate Henry Smithson and them Radioclit boys will love this! Must get a copy to Dave [Lynch].’ DJ Silencio on the new album, In Exile from Noblesse Oblige. Indeed, we asked two of our music writers to give the album a seeing to. Silencio sets the scene, while Todd Hart (Dalston Oxfam Blog, Manifesto) talks music.

Silencio: ‘Back in 2004 German songwriter/producer Sebastian Lee Philipp and French actress cum chanteuse/songwriter Valerie Renay met at a masked ball in that classic Victorian haunt, Hoxton Hall. Heady times ensued. Before they could say ‘don’t touch me there’, they were touring and performing with the likes of the Dresden Dolls, Vive La Fete and Patti Smith among others from the ‘dark’ jet set.

All the while they ran their regular live music and DJ night Caligula with the mysterious DJ Silencio (where is he now?) at various east-side locations including the Old Blue Last (when it was good) and some other dive that was a converted toilet. This was a time when the Shoreditch Twat was a comic and not real people, cunts. These guys were (and remain) quality deft electro-punks – witty, musically out there, and full-throttle performers.

In 2006 they released their debut album ‘Privilege Entails Responsibility’ (the English translation of the classy band name) on Horseglue Records (Pink Grease, Selfish Cunt). The wild combo of disco punk, sixties French chanson and raw acoustic folklore mashed with lyrical wit and dark humour really rocked my boat. I mean, hello?

Then what happened? 2007 - they fucked off to where all the arty boho’s went, Berlin (like Bowie, then the Liars) – to produce that difficult second album. And here we are, witnessing the makings of a cult phenomena… the music is here, and it’s sunny!’

Todd: ‘In contrast to the previous Noblesse Oblige work, the new album In Exile coming out this month on Repo Records, represents a much sunnier and melodic song writing style. I went to see Noblesse Oblige many times when they were performing in and around London a few years ago and the performances were always characterized by a darkness that I think suited well the industrial/Goth wave that was hitting us at that time. It looks like Noblesse Oblige are now feeling more of a melodic urge and many of the songs seem to be almost surf or 60s pop inspired.

It also seems like Sebastian and Valerie are genuinely crafting some new musical concepts by mixing together genres. I laud them for it, as this is where I think the most interesting music usually lies. As a matter of fact my favourite tracks are ones which mix together different styles, such as Partners in Crime, with some Muslim calls to prayer mixed with mellow rock pop; and Monkey Business, with its African Masai-tribe samples, indie guitar riffs and occasional almost trip hop touches. But the best pop tracks on the album are Das Sodatengluck and Seaside Suicide – simple, well-crafted and beautiful tunes. Seaside Suicide could have come straight out of Factory Records.’

Todd Hart makes his part time hobby writing
..., and he claims to be the master and commander of African music at his party Manifesto and also is an occasional wearer of gold tights.

Silencio was last seen with Maggie Gyllenhaal feeding the swans in St James’ park.

Noblesse Oblige ‘In Exile’ is released on Monday, 22nd September. The album can be purchased via the website: ... also on Amazon and HMV UK