July 2, 2022

Stephan Eicher “Engelberg”: 30 years already!

Recorded in 1991 in the Casino of the Swiss village of the same name, “Engelberg” is not Stephan Eicher’s first album, but will be that of revelation to the general public, that of consecration. Album with essential hits “Déjeuner En Paix”, “Pas d’Ami (comme Toi)” and “You owe me nothing”, “Engelberg” is celebrating its 30th anniversary today.

From a gypsy grandfather, the Swiss singer from the punk generation of the late 1970s inherited the cult of wandering and probably the taste to record in the fortresses, the hotels he likes to transform into a mobile studio. . At sixteen, he ran away from home, hung out in Hamburg, in Bologna, started groups without a future (Noise Boys with his brother and Lilliput). From 1980 to 1989, he recorded 4 albums interpreted indifferently in English, French and German and carried by the new-wave and the electro of the 80’s. Thanks to two hits “Two People in a Room” (“I Tell This Nigh” t 1985) and “How Long” (“Silence” 1987) the esteem success and the core of fans are already there.

Engelberg, or fame

But the popular success and the recognition of the general public will come from the meeting between Stephan Eicher and Philippe Djian during Rapido, the show of Antoine de Caunes. From 1989, the novelist will write the texts of all the French songs. Philippe Djian tailor-made small stories for him with that something intimate and infinite that resembles an escape sometimes marked by bluesy or even more rock rhythms, interspersed with moving ballads. The chemistry between these two works well. It’s like Neil Young meets Raymond Chandler and John Fante. Harmonies blues, ambient climates, the 12 songs are full of sensual and percussive texts, turned towards the interiority of the settling of marital scores. Opening on a mandolin, a snare slam quickly joined by a washout of acoustic and electric guitars, “Wake Up” sets the tone for the album with this dry, lively and nasty sound. Side texts, the words full of spleen and melancholy blend perfectly with the melodies with a certain modesty. Flooding the FM radios “Déjeuner en Paix” will captivate listeners with its haunting melody, this snare that slams, this heavy bass behind undulating strings that zigzag in counterpoint. With this new rock universe and his striking voice, it was obvious that these pop songs were going to knock on the doors of fame. Result: more than two million copies sold.

The end of a story

But great stories sometimes end badly. The fetish hotel in which Stephan Eicher had recorded his famous eponymous album, was going to be destroyed at the beginning of 2001. The day before, Stephan Eicher hosted the last evening with the members of the Lost and Found Orchestra. The next day, the bulldozers razed everything. Attached to his roots, Stephan Eicher returned to Engelberg at the end of August 2021 with his musicians and technicians to celebrate the album’s 30th anniversary and relive this story a little. A moment of happiness which we imagine must have been the occasion of a pleasant “peace lunch”.

Disc 1

  1. Wake Up
  2. No friend (like you)
  3. Move Closer
  4. Lunch in peace Philippe Djian
  5. Easy
  6. Secret
  7. Wicked Ways
  8. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry
  9. It’s all
  10. You do not owe me anything
  11. Come on Home
  12. Djian’s Waltz

Disc 2

  1. Wake Up (Demo)
  2. No friend (like you) (Demo)
  3. Move Closer (Demo)
  4. Lunch in peace (Demo)
  5. Easy (Demo)
  6. You Don’t Have To Look (Demo inédite)
  7. Wicked Ways (Demo)
  8. Chateau Marmont
  9. I Will Wait Here (Demo inédite)
  10. You don’t owe me anything (Demo)
  11. Come on Home (Demo)
  12. Djian’s Waltz (Demo)
Mélanie Laurent adapts with accuracy and humanism “Le Bal des folles” by Victoria Mas
Stephan Eicher “Engelberg”: 30 years already!