LES HOMMES SAUVAGES
LES HOMMES SAUVAGES Fronted by Kristof Hahn, Viola Limpet and Thomas Wydler, LES HOMMES SAUVAGES is a band-project that comprises a truely fine line-up of musicians from Berlin. Hahn, guitariste, has worked with a variety of artists in the past and covered a bandwidth of styles that reach from Alex Chilton, his partner in crime in the garage-of-despair ensemble Koolkings, to Michael Gira, whose avant-noise ensemble Swans he joined in 1989 and who still relies on Hahn’s quite unique abilities as a lap-steel player for his new project The Angels of Light.
Hahn's collaboration with singer Viola Limpet goes back to the mid-eighties, when they teamed up as "Heart and Justice" to stun the neo-garage/cowpunk crowds of the time with their double-lead vocals over suicide riffs played with a country twang. After exploring the field of "noise-music" as one half of the electronic music duo "Synthetisches Mischgewebe" during the early eighties Limpet had fronted one of Berlin's first neo-country bands - The Tumbling Hearts - who had, like Hahn's former band, The Legendary Golden Vampires, detected a certain self-indulgence in the so-called Berlin Underground of the times and resorted to redefine/reclaim the structure of the song as a means of expression - a move which in the subsequent years would be made by a number of bands that started out as "noise" bands. In the early eighties they both met Thomas Wydler, nowadays more known for his work with Nick Cave - Hahn performed several times with him and later-on techno-doyen, Marc Reeder at Berlin's SO 36.
Wydler played drums on "Down By Love", a four track 10" realeased under the name "Justice Hahn" on Exile Records. He also played drums on the Tumbling Hearts' cd "Easy Come Easy Go". Together with Adrian Hoercher on bass Les Hommes Sauvages started recording "Playtime" in 1998. The basics and some of the overdubs were recorded on 24 track 2" tape by Seba Fell. The tracks were then transferred to pro-tools and further engineered. Martin Klingenberg played trumpet, Giles Schumm harmonica.
In 2000 Les Hommes Suavages recorded three songs with Chris Spedding on guitar and Yoyo Röhm on bass. Two of the tracks - "Sandmann" and "Long Long Line" appear on Playtime. In 2001 the band teamed up with Ingo Krauss who from then on engineered and co-produced the sessions and the final mix. Before he moved to Berlin Krauss had worked as chief engineer at the legendary Conny Plank Studio near Cologne for more than a decade. Probably best described as “rock’n’roll noir”, the ensemble takes a neo-existentialist approach to the genre. Alienation, isolation, longing and despair set the mood but there is also a clear element of stoicism and a swinging tongue-in-cheek melancholia, seasoned with a touch of Max Stirner, whose claim that everything there is is his, could be the moral guideline for Hahn/Limpet's strategy of production. Based on the driving swing of
Wydler's solid-as-a-rock-but-gentle-as-a-daisy drums they create a soundscape of rock'n'roll guitars, vibraphones and organs, over which the double lead-vocals meander around each other. Quite unusual for German bands LES HOMMES SAUVAGES also sing in French - they do a cover version of Jacques Higelin’s “Cigarette”.
Besides that LES HOMMES SAUVAGES collaborate with the French lyricist Eric LeMarechal who contributed their original sturm-und-drang “chansons nouveaux”. Being European sons and daughters they named their album “Playtime” after the movie of the same title by the French director genius Jacques Tati.