There is a big chance you already know about Rob. If you are lucky enough to have seen Phoenix play live or even watched a performance on Youtube, you probably wondered who the tall, long black haired guy was.
That man is Robin Coudert, often credited as the fifth member of the band, who has been playing keyboards with them on their last three tours. What you may not know, however, is that Rob is an artist and composer in his own right, whose music is somewhat confidential yet absolutely magnificent. As his wikipedia entry puts it, Rob is a well-kept secret among French music lovers. Born in 1978, Rob put out his debut album in 2000 under the label Source, the legendary subsidy of Virgin Music that used to be the home of many of the late 90s electronic music prodigies such as Air or Etienne de Crecy. Unlike his peers, Rob did not produce filtered disco house but focused his knowledge of synthesizers on contemporary instrumental music, largely inspired by 1970s film score composers such as Ennio Morricone, François de Roubaix, Francis Lai and Wendy Carlos to only name a few.
The result, Don’t Kill, is a collection of expertly crafted nostalgic melodies that can express both euphoria and melancholia at the same time. Rob’s distinctive sound, composed of pianos, synths and guitars, was different from Air or Phoenix in the sense that his melodies used live drums while the latter relied on electronic drum machines. Unfortunately, his music did not find the mature audience it was written for and the album did not sell. His second opus, Satyred Love (which is just as brilliant), suffered the same tragic fate. During the following years, Rob worked as a session keyboard player for Sebastien Tellier and co-wrote La Ritournelle, the song that would make him famous. Later on he started touring with his friends from Phoenix, which would eventually lead him to play in front of thousands.
In 2009, the famous underground label Institube offered to publish his Dodecalogue, a collection of 12 EPs, each named after an apostle and containing 3 or 4 tracks inspired by the New Testament, featuring more acoustic instruments and sometimes vocals, with a guest appearance by Sebastien Tellier. Sadly, a year later, Institube was dissolved and his musical endeavor was abruptly stopped after Vol. VI came out. Yet his fall was only the start of his new rising. In 2010, French director Rebecca Zlotowsky asked Rob to write the soundtrack for Belle Epine, starring Léa Seydoux. That was the call that eventually made him realize his true potential. If Rob would never become a pop star, his instrumental music has found a purpose, as he has become a full time film composer. In the last two years, Rob has scored many successful French films, such as Radiostars and Populaire, and even wrote the score for the American horror movie Maniac, starring Elijah Wood. His latest soundtracks, Grand Central and Je Suis Supporter du Standard, have received critical acclaim and Rob was featured in the French Vanity Fair.
To this day, Rob’s music remains confidential, and his records are still uneasy to find. Luckily, that’s what The Parisian Flair is here for.
ROB’s PLAYLIST by Philippe Cohen
- Power Glove – Power Glove EP
- Amours – Don’t Kill
- De La Musique – Don’t Kill
- XX – Don’t Kill
- A Satyred Love – Satyred Love
- Love Bizarre – Satyred Love
- You & I & My Song – Satyred Love
- Goodspeed Reprise – Satyred Love
- Ouverture – Dodécalogue Vol.1
- De Maria – Dodécalogue Vol.4
- Femme et Enfant (feat. Sebastien Tellier) – Dodécalogue Vol. 4
- Baptheme– Dodécalogue Vol. 6
- Motors – Belle Epine
Haunted – Maniac
Juno – Maniac
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