Undying Love For Laetitia Sadier
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble - CCA Glasgow - April 17
Laetitia Sadier has been one of the most distinctive voices in music for almost three decades now, from her early work with one of the most seminal groups of the nineties, Stereolab, via collaborations with diverse luminaries from Mouse on Mars to Bradford Cox to Tyler the Creator, to her current project The Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble.
Despite the length and productivity of her career, - she’s still short of fifty, the fact the she was born in France in 1968 part of her ‘Marxist pop’ mythology – her work is all characterised by her singular retro futurist aesthetic, drawing on Ye Ye, Troplcalia and Krautrock to produce music that sounds like no one else's .
She played Glasgow on Easter Monday in support of her fine new album Finding Me Finding You, which would be the highlight of many of our Easters.
The Source Ensemble here are three other musicians backing Sadier, playing guitar - a Fender Mustang left-handed - with a keyboard player, bass player and drummer, although often all three are playing behind a bank of keyboards, producing a pulsing rhythmic effect like classic French pop music remixed by Steve Reich, as on opener Undying Love For the Universe.
She introduced Galactic Emergence as about ‘being lost in the universe’ – but really all the songs could be, with their sonically enquiring openness to and wonder at experience.
Sadier’s voice soars to the occasion, finding the pulse of the universe, as another song would have it, although she could make reciting a shopping list seductive, especially when combined with the exquisite vocal harmonies from the Source Ensemble
The mood turned darker with Sacred Rhythm, which saw Sadier intoning lyrics about ‘the opposite of love’ while the Ensemble conjured up a menacing soundscape on their keyboards.
She apologised for not being able to play for as long as she would have liked, then moved into the longest jam of the set, Double Voice, Extra Voice, vocal harmonies set off against controlled squalls of feedback before settling into a Krautrock groove.
Leaving the stage to ecstatic applause and shouts of ‘legend’, there was no way the crowd wouldn’t let them return. which they did with Then, I Will Love You Again. Then the band left the stage again, leaving Laetitia to perform a solo, stripped down and rather moving version of the Gershwins' staple Summertime. Given that the temperature in Glasgow on Easter Sunday was the same as that on Christmas day, this may have seemed an inappropriate choice, but she charitably changed the closing lines to ‘Summertime is coming soon,” and didn’t offend the Glaswegian audience.