French artist Anne Laplantine explores intensely personal issues through a mixed up, folky, intimate sounding elctro-pop aesthetic. Delving into personal politics of identity and culture, Laplantine releases work under various guises, her different monikers backed up with biographical details and even personal statements, ("Hello, I'm Angelika Koehlermann, from Hamburg, CARE
is my first album…”).
The alter egos – Japanese pop-producer Michiko Kusaki (Don't Do That
Hiao Hiao Hiao, 2002), neophyte Angelika Koelhermann: (Care
Tomlab 2002), and Anne Hamburg: (anne-hamburg
3x7" Tomlab 2003), all have plausible alternate backgrounds created by Laplantine, raising issues about context, production, packaging and consumption of culture and cultural artefacts.
Michiko Kusaki has also released an album on Gerhard Potuznik's Vienna based label. The imprint is called, confusingly, Angelika Koehlerman, and is associated with Mego.
Originally from Lyon with a visual arts background, Laplantine came to music ‘a little by chance’ after moving to Paris. After some experimentation with covers on tape, she followed her interest in machines and assemblages, bought a four track and one synth and made her first songs: impressionistic pieces with accidental structure. Laplantine started putting out her music in very limited quantities on small and secretive labels. Her first easily available album was Alison
, in 2001. Since then she has produced a number of releases under her own name, including a collaboration with Momus (Summerisle
, analog baroque, 2004). As well as full-length albums on Goom, Tomlab and Emphasise Recordings, Laplantine has contributed tracks to compilations on Mego, Doxa Records, Staubgold and others.
As hard to pin down as her identity, her work is always on the move, eschewing readily identifiable styles in favour of mobile and confounding sounds. The music is a study in opposites: electronic and unelectronic – often using instruments from folk and classical traditions like flute, glockenspiel, melodica; minimal and baroque – experiments with rhythms and harmonic densities at times cut bare, at times invoking images of a fugue; pop and experimental – from heartbreaking melodies to quirky cut-ups. The result is a unique aesthetic that both satisfies and challenges, beautiful sounds that lead us to question our assumptions about cultural influence, authenticity and identity.