A Global Sound in a Local Scene: Philippe Cohen Solal’s New Album “75010” text and photos by Tristan Hickey

Encircling two of the busiest railway stations in all of Europe—the Gare du Nord and the Gare de l’Est—one finds oneself in code postal 75010, the 10th arrondissement of Paris. But this past Thursday evening, on March 28th, one needed only to be in the chapelle of the Convent des Récollets to feel the presence of the entire district, as artist Philippe Cohen Solal celebrated the launch of his new ten track album, 75010.

Solal has been living in le dixième for approximately 30 years, and the influence of this neighbourhood on his music, a neighbourhood which represents approximately 70 different communities, becomes immediately apparent to listeners of this album: 75010 serenades us with genre-bending euphonies composed by Solal and his numerous collaborators, all from the 10th arrondissement. Every artist featured on 75010, many of whom performed at the album launch party alongside Solal, are all residents of the 10th, or were at least part of the district’s community in some form when Solal met them on his mission to create a global sound for this album.

As a result of Solal’s eagerness to celebrate and to immerse himself fully in the constitution of the 10th—as a result of his joie du dixième, one could say—he has truly succeeded in creating an album of global music, featuring artists from Afghanistan, Turkey, the United States, Kurdistan and Iran, among other countries, all of whom he met either in cultural centres, Turkish barbershops, artist residencies or elsewhere in the quarter. Reflecting on the multicultural arena of the 10th, Solal remarked in a recent interview with Diane Pernet, “this is Paris.” Indeed, 75010 is a spirited portrait of Paris in the 10th, or rather, of Paris at large, a city which has throughout history been home to artists born elsewhere, whose work has helped to secure Paris’s international reputation as a centre of art.

The aesthetic diversity which permeates 75010, as a result of these enriching collaborations, is not exclusive to this album alone, but rather, it is characteristic of Solal’s oeuvre as a whole, which consistently blends genres and features artists from across the globe. This is true not only of his solo albums, but also of his group Gotan Project, created with Argentine musician Eduardo Makaroff and Swiss musician Christoph H. Müller, which fuses the sounds of Argentine tango with electronic music. It is true also of his record label ¡YA BASTA!, which grew out of a desire to engage with music from the entire world and, in turn, is responsible for the production of records exhibiting incredible mixtures of musical influences.

With such broad musical interests, it is unsurprising that Solal’s career in music is itself equally as manifold: beyond his solo albums, the success of Gotan Project, and his work as a producer, Solal has enjoyed a long career as a disc jockey, helping to pioneer the Parisian techno and house scenes in the 90s, and he was one of the first music supervisors in France, working on film music in collaboration with directors such as Lars Von Trier, Arnaud Desplechin, and Nikita Mikalkov, among others.

The 75010 launch party was as successful as Solal’s career is extensive, as evidenced by the turnout. The chapelle was filled with Parisians from around the city and locals from the 10th, all of whom arrived to celebrate Solal and the other artists’s achievement, dancing into the early hours of the next day. Performances were given by Famille Ibrahimi, Jodie Coste, Uzay, Judith Chemla, Sarah Manesse, Ariana Vafadari, Sarah McCoy, Rusan Filiztek, Ariana Vafadari, Alfa Martians, DJ Lazy Flow and of course Philippe Cohen Solal himself. To add to the already vibrant atmosphere established by the performances and the audience, looped projections depicting scenes from the 10th, captured on Super 8 film, were splashed across the walls and ceilings of the venue, helping to remind us that the evening was not only a celebration of the album 75010, but also a celebration of the neighbourhood and community in which the album was nurtured.



Tristan Hickey

Before arriving in Paris, where he is now based, the German-American New York City native studied Literature and Philosophy in Montréal, after which he moved to Berlin to begin working in the arts as a curator, producer, and writer.