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Beyond the Valley of A Day in the Life
The Beatles, the Beach Boys & stepping outside history
by Pacôme Thiellement
The relationship between the Beach Boys and the Beatles is at the heart of some key issues in pop culture, namely: can pop music function as a tool of knowledge? And if so, how? Author and essayist Pacôme Thiellement has published several articles on pop music, poetry, and black magic; here he offers an exegesis of Beach Boys’ and Beatles’ masterpieces in the same vein as his book on pop and gnosis, Poppermost: Considérations sur la mort de Paul McCartney (Paris: Musica Falsa, 2002), a theory of pop culture elaborated through a comparison of the Beatles and the Residents.
Thiellement has also published an essay on Frank Zappa from an anthropological perspective ( Economie Eskimo: Le rêve de Zappa , Paris: Musica Falsa, 2005) and, most recently, a study of Nerval (L’homme électrique: Nerval et la vie, Paris: Musica Falsa).
Daniel Johnston R.I.P
by Wilfried Paris
In this article, Wilfried Paris adopts a unique approach to one of the key figures of pop culture: Daniel Johnston. An American songwriter born in 1961, Johnston is a mythical figure in more ways than one, since his life and various activities (including drawing) make him an archetypal (post)modern (anti)hero. An epic text—halfway between rock criticism, pop philosophy, and metaphysical fiction—reflects the ambivalence of its subject.
Wilfried Paris, a musician and journalist, here offers a unique, dense, almost imaginary analysis—the first of its kind—in the form of a portrait of one artist dreamed up by another.
In Search of Pop: From Seductive Beat to Global Ecstasy
by Yann Chateigné Tytelman / Florent Mazzoleni
In this e-mail exchange, Yann Chateigné Tytelman and Florent Mazzoleni discuss what are the stakes of “pop culture” today, extending from art and music to criticism. They address the forms it takes, its economy, its geography and its politics right from the birth of worldwide pop, ranging from the USA to Africa and back again, not overlooking the “French situation.”
Mazzoleni is a writer, journalist and photographer whose publications notably include L’Épopée de la musique africaine (Hors Collection, 2008), Disco (Flammarion, 2007), L’odyssée du rock (Hors Collection 2004) and, more recently Les racines du rock (Hors Collection, 2008).