Imbued with that warm afterglow of reflection that arrives with the Autumn season, the newest single from the Paris-based artist delivers both a tender tribute to the late Jimi Hendrix (who died on September the 18th. 1970) on the one hand, and a sepia-tinted recollection of endless Summer’s past, on the other.
As Caesar elaborates of the song:
““Isn’t That What Jimi Said” is a reminiscence about Summer holidays, and in my case, the ones spent in the South of Sweden. It’s about the Summers you have when you’re 16 years old. You fall in love with a strange girl and then you break up. Was it true love or just a Grease-style Summer loving fling? You’re not really sure and you don’t really know how to handle it.”
“The Jimi in question is actually Jimi Hendrix. It refers to the apocryphal idea that he smashed up his guitars out of sheer frustration because they weren’t able to sufficiently express the sounds he had in his mind. It’s the idea that the emotions you feel are sometimes so strong that you have no ability to express them in a reasonable way. You’re limited by the tools you’re given. That can be painful to experience but it’s also something that can drive great art. Consider the DIY punk ethos. The technical ability you have to play is less important than the glorious, anarchic energy and sound you’ve created. It’s an imperfect statement of intent which sometimes sounds more authentic and beguiling than something that has been perfectly crafted.”
Featuring the talents of critically acclaimed French star Jean Felzine (Mustang) and his partner Jo Wedin (who delivers the song’s affecting Swedish monologue in her native tongue), its musical arrangements are resplendent in their Procol Harum-hinting hammond organs, lackadaisical guitar strums, loping basslines and retro-soundbites seemingly plucked from seaside holidays gone-by. Think of Traffic’s Paper Sun revisited in 2022.
Directed by Gaétan Boudy, the single’s official music video utilities old 8 mm film of Caesar Spencer as a child in Sweden and intimately ties-in with the undercurrent of themes explored in the track.
As warmly nostalgic as it is winsomely reflective, “Isn’t That What Jimi Said” finds itself right at home on Caesar Spencer’s much-anticipated debut solo album: ‘Get Out Into Yourself’ (coming soon via New Radio Records); a record that shines a light on French musical artistry, while still finding place and purpose to pay homage to classic English pastoral-pop.
As an Englishman born in Peru, with Swedish roots, who now finds himself in France; the debut from Caesar Spencer continues in a long line of songwriters, from Scott Walker to Lee Hazlewood, Morrissey to Peter Doherty, who have long looked beyond their patch for a deeper sense of connection. Broadly echoing his own journey to date, Caesar’s debut ‘Get Out Into Yourself’, is a concept-album-of-sorts; inspired by those with nomadic origins and their search for identity. With a loose narrative that follows a protagonist journeying through different cultural landscapes, it unspools a tale laced with existential questions and the quest to find yourself in an ever-shifting world.
Whilst its a record that often switches from vintage British pop to gnarly West Coast surf-rock with a dextrous flick, above all else ‘Get Out Into Yourself’ is an homage to the musical heritage of his newfound home in France.
“It’s simply a love letter to France. I wanted to give something back to a country that has given me so much. And I really wanted to shine a light on this incredibly sophisticated French musical artistry.” says Caesar.
Recorded at the Studio La Fugitive (where acclaimed French band Les Rita Mitsouko recorded) with esteemed producer Gaétan Boudy (Zaz, Alex Renart, Emel Mathlouthi) and his formidable backing band of Fred Lafage (Tony Allen, Paris Dernière) and Frantxoa Erreçarret (Askehoug, Barcella); the album also sees Caesar joined by a raft of prominent special guest appearances. Alongside Jean Felzine (Mustang) and Jo Wedin (who both appear on “Isn’t That What Jimi Said”); a collaboration with 60’s ye-ye chanteuse Jacqueline Taïeb can be heard on previous single “Waiting for Sorrow”). Elsewhere, French punk icon Gilles Tandy (Les Olivensteins), the multi-talented Mareva Galanter, opera star Aurélie Ligerot and FAME’S PROJECT (Jarvis Cocker, Chilly Gonzales) all lend their talents to the album.
Deftly bridging the channel between British and French pop, ‘Get Out Into Yourself’ is a record with a timelessness of sound that dares to dream beyond typical boundaries in its quest for true identity. New Radio Records will shortly confirm the release date. All physical editions of the album will also be accompanied by an elegant conceptual storyboard illustrated by French artist Thierry Beaudenon.