Au Revoir Simone: Interview with Erika Forster

Au Revoir Simone are three long-legged long-haired lasses living in Brooklyn who weave gossamer pillow-talked seductions through minimalist melodic symphonies, futurist lounge pop, celestial ambient abstractions, and buoyant cybernetic Kraut-rock. Customarily using vintage manual input devices, their most accomplished set yet, ’09’s Still Night, Still Light, refines the ethereal Casio-glazed gauzy linearity, buzz-y electro whirs, and pulsating crystalline balladry previously put forth.

Equally dividing multiple keyboard duties, Colorado-bred Erika Forster, Connecticut-bound Jerseyite Heather D’Angelo, and Long Island native Annie Hart got an early buzz doing loft parties as a tea-drinking living room band. A friend recorded a patchy do-it-yourself demo and a few songs got on blogs before someone in Japan offered to release an eight-song mini-album. Though Erika claims they originally were “ridiculously bad,” the novice trio were brave enough to soldier on despite technical difficulties arising from “plugging in gear every which way.”

Heather, who’d been watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse religiously, took their French moniker from a line in the movie and put it on a poster. Meanwhile former shoegazing art-schooled greenhorn, Erika, told her multi-instrumentalist keyboard teacher, Greg Peterson, they were seeking exposure. So he offered a spot opening for his respected indie-based Hoboken combo, The Scene Is Now. Soon, Au Revoir Simone was playing Manhattan clubs such as the Baggot Inn, Sine, and Mercury Lounge. Along the way, boutique label Moshi Moshi Records delivered ’05’s Verses Of Comfort Assurance & Salvation and ’07’s sterling The Bird Of Music to positive reviews-plus their cutesy homespun videos didn’t hurt matters.

Hooking up with veteran producer Thom Monahan proved karmic. ’09’s Still Night, Still Light maintains a glossier professional sheen than Au Revoir Simone’s earlier records. Shimmered soft-toned opener, “Another Likely Story,” journeys aboard a fragile programmed disco-marimba cadence with the greatest of ease. A melting hopefulness consumes pleasant synth-pop jaunt “Only You Can Make You Happy.” And the steadily motorik beat propelling “Shadows” underscores its beautifully billowy Teutonic eloquence. Often singing in delicately shaded mezzo-sopranos, Erika, Annie, and Heather cozily embrace adventurous easy listening music, or what Stereolab once labeled, “Avant Garde M.O.R.”

At Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, Au Revoir Simone bring a definite post-adolescent innocence to mystifying calliope catacombs, haunted jazz-pop junkets, and metronomic disco-beaten reverberations -even ditzy twee pop euphonies. Annie and Heather, for the majority of time, bookend Erika as the threesome’s hushed harmonic restraint embodies nearly every studio number done live. Erika rudimentarily plucked a bass over a snake charming jungle rhythm just for kicks. On another tune, her sultry Kate Bush-mannered voicing rode above alluring Serge Gainsbourg-like cocktail lounging.