Recent news from France has told of a top local artist, Michel Sardou, selling over 160,000 copies of his latest album on SACD and reaching Gold status as well as three other SACDs in the country reaching Silver status. The news tells us that the days of Super Audio CD releases in Europe being limited to imports from the U.S. are changing. In a recent look at the SACDs available in France, we found quite a number of local releases as well as European titles from artists such as Indochine and Era and even a Surround Sound SACD of the soundtrack to Terminator 2.
Indochine’s Birthday Album
Topping the list of best selling Super Audio CDs in France these days is the new 2 SACD Set by Indochine. The group is well known in France and has even gathered a bit of a following outside of Europe through the playing of their songs on Internet radio stations around the world. Le Birthday Album is a 2 disc, Surround Sound SACD set that celebrates 25 of their best known tunes over a 15 year period from 1981 to 1996. It was released at the end of June in France and is being imported to additional parts of Europe in the weeks ahead by BMG.
- Indochine – Le Birthday Album, 1981-1996 (2 SACD Set) (BMG France 8287-661280-2)Growing Number of “Chanson” SACDs from Universal Music France
Albums by french singers are often referred to as “chanson francaise” which loosely translated means “French Song”. With the availability of added SACD pressing capacity in Europe (through plants owned by Sonopress, Sony and Universal Music), its not surprising to see more local singers appear in their own markets on Super Audio CD.
This is certainly the case in France where a large number of SACDs featuring “chanson” music have appeared. In the months of March, April, May and June this year, Universal Music France through its Atmospheriques, AZ, Barclay and Mercury labels has released 26 of these albums on Super Audio CD. The SACDs were a mix of new titles as well as reissues of classic albums by famous French singers, all of which appeared in SACD Surround Sound form. These recent releases include:
March SACD Releases
- Calogero – 3 (Mercury 6024-981768-3)
April SACD Releases
- Louis Chedid – Un Ange Passe (Atmospheriques 6024-981823-7)
- Daniel Balavoine – Sauver l’Amour (Barclay 6024-981837-5)
- Johnny Hallyday – A La Vie, A La Mort (Mercury 0440-077029-2)
- Barbara – L’aigle Noir (Mercury 6024-981837-4)
May SACD Releases
- Michel Sardou – Du Plaisir (AZ 6024-981918-1)
- Jacques Brel – Infiniment in Chansons (Barclay 6024-981840-9)
- Dalida – L’ Original 15 Ans Dйjа (Barclay 6024-981895-6)
- Jacques Brel – Olympia 61 (Barclay 6024-981895-7)
- Zazie – Zen (Barclay 6024-981896-1)
- Daniel Balavoine – Loin Des Yeux de L’Occident (Barclay 6024-981896-5)
- Daniel Balavoine – Le Chanteur (Barclay 6024-981896-6)
- Jacques Brel – Les Marquises (Barclay 6024-981897-2)
- Zebda – Essence Ordinaire (Barclay 6024-981926-2)
- Bernard Lavilliers – Nuit D’Amour (Barclay 6024-981949-2)
- Bernard Lavilliers – O Gringo (Barclay 6024-981950-2)
- Johnny Hallyday – Gang (Mercury 6024-981895-8)
- Johnny Hallyday – Rock’ N’ Roll Attitude (Mercury 6024-981895-9)
- Johnny Hallyday – Sang Pour Sang (Mercury 6024-981896-0)
- Maxime Le Forestier – Passer Ma Route (Mercury 6024-981925-7)
- Gйrald De Palmas – Marcher Dans Le Sable (Mercury 6024-981926-0)
- Georges Moustaki – Le Mйtиque (Mercury 6024-981936-1)
- Maxime Le Forestier – Nй Quelque Part (Mercury 6024-981939-8)
- Patricia Kaas – Mademoiselle Chante (Mercury 6024-981949-8)
- Jenifer – Le Passage (Mercury 6024-981960-5)
June SACD Release
- Florent Pagny – Ailleurs Land (Universal Records 6024-980122-0)
EMI France Joins In With Charles Aznavour Catalog
Not to be left out, EMI France also put out five remastered albums from the catalog of famed French singer Charles Aznavour. A key difference with these titles is that all of them were issued as Hybrid SACDs rather than the Hybrid Surround Sound SACD format favored by Universal Music France.
The label then issued a new chanson album in June by Chiara Mastroianni & Benjamin Biolay entitled Home. For Home, the disc was released as a Hybrid Surround Sound SACD. The EMI France SACDs include:
May SACD Releases
- Charles Aznavour – Je M’Voyais Dйjа (EMI France 7243-571111-2)
- Charles Aznavour – Il Faut Savoir (EMI France 7243-571132-2)
- Charles Aznavour – Qui? (EMI France 7243-571142-2)
- Charles Aznavour – La Mamma (EMI France 7243-571162-2)
- Charles Aznavour – La Boheme (EMI France 7243-577472-2)
June SACD Release
- Chiara Mastroianni & Benjamin Biolay – Home (EMI France 7243-571463-2)
Era’s The Mass
One of the SACDs that Universal Music has listed as reaching Silver Record status in France is The Mass by Era. Era is a group led by Eric Levi that mixes music, chants and orchestral music into what some have described as soundscapes.
The 5.1 Surround Sound mix was done by Thierry Rogen at Studio Mega in Paris with the SACD Mastering is done by Ronald Prent at Galaxy Studios. The lush instrumentation in The Mass is a natural for a 5.1 Surround Sound mix and Rogen’s Surround mix uses the Center channel to reinforce vocals and narrative parts while spreading the music and choral singing around the sound field. It’s a very impressive surround sound disc.
- Era – The Mass (Mercury 0440-063611-2)Terminator 2 (T2) Soundtrack in 5.1 Surround Sound SACD
An interesting find in the French market is a 5.1 Surround Sound Super Audio CD of the original soundtrack album from Terminator 2 (T2). The movie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was an international hit. Yet the only place where one can find it in high resolution surround sound is France. While I can’t explain why that is the case, I did venture to pick up a copy of the disc and have a listen.
It does indeed feature 20 tracks from the original movie score composed by Brad Fidel. The SACD also features a large sticker that proclaims in French “Pour la premiere fois la B.O.F. du Film mythique Terminator 2 en SACD Son 5.1 Redecouvrez cette musique fantastique, envoutante et resolument futuriste.”. Using one of the web based translators, this roughly means “the first time that the Original Music from the mythical film Terminator 2 is available in 5.1 SACD sound. Discover this fantastic music, entertainment and futuristic resolution.”
The SACD liner notes credit Jiai Weger at Studio Digipro for the 5.1 SACD Surround Mastering on the disc. The Surround Sound mix features the music and sound effects from the movie that fills all 5 channels. This is one for the movie soundtrack and T2 fans out there.
- Terminator 2 – Musique Originale Composee Et Produite Par Brad Fidel (Universal Records 980941-4)Availability
The French Super Audio CDs mentioned in this article are available at music stores in France. They are also available on the web from the Amazon web stores in France (Amazon.Fr) and Germany (Amazon.De) and the Alapage.Com web site in France.