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Polaroid / Roman / Photo.

Ruth

Polaroid / Roman / Photo.

Label: Born Bad

Genre: 80s Wave / Rock / Pop / Punk

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  • LP €20.99
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Thierry Müller, who initiated the RUTH project, is not at his first try when the album POLAROÏD/ROMAN/PHOTO including the eponymous track is released in 1985.
His older brother Patrick along with one of their cousins make his musical education and he quickly becomes familiar with contemporary and experimental music. He starts quite early to tinker sounds on old tape recorders by himself but it is in 1977 that Thierry launches with some friends his first group, ARCANE, while studying at the School of Applied Arts. Their sound is weird, a mixture of saturated scratches and feedback tapes: there is no discographic or scenic testimony of this experience.

Alongside ARCANE, Thierry is already working solo on his ILITCH project / concept, an experimental and innovative work, whose first album Periodmindtrouble is released in 1978 on the Oxigène label. Despite insubstantial sales, this album brings Thierry recognition and success in the very elitist circles of experimental and underground music.

ILITCH’s musical bias was too narrow for Thierry’s ceaseless experimental curiosity, parallel to these activities, he therefore develops a Punk project called RUTH ELLYERI with the author, actress and photographer Murielle Huster. The title is an anagram of Thierry Müller (the complete name is Ruth M. Ellyeri). The character is meant to impersonate one of his schizophrenic facets and allows him to extend his field of expressions to musical styles differing from those in ILITCH.

From this work, the very cult punk piece Mescalito emerges, song that can be found on the mythical but unfortunately very rare compilation 125g de 33 1/3 tours (1979) of the Oxigène label (first “french punk” sampler).

At the end of 1978, he meets Philippe Doray at the Oxigene office. Doray is another big name of French experimental music. Thierry moves to his home near Rouen, a remote farmhouse with a music studio made of odds and ends.

They work on their respective creations but meet from time to time on experimentations in common, including CRASH (a tribute to JG Ballard)

As early as 1982, a first version of the track Polaroïd/Roman/Photo is out under the name of the project RUTH.

“I wanted to write a piece to make the girls dance and make fun of the boys. I plugged a small handmade clock on my Farfisa organ as a sequencer. I had a small Roland synth-guitar, I put the organ in it and that’s how it started.”

Philippe is quite amused by the idea of working on a more Pop project and offers to write the text. Thierry works on other tracks for the future LP and asks some friends to write other texts : Edouard Nono, visual artist, writes the lyrics of Mots, Frédérique Lapierre those of Misty Mouse and Tu m’ennuies . It is her voice you hear on these 2 tracks and on the first version of Polaroïd/Roman/Photo. Later, Thierry settles down in the Anagramme recording studio to carry out acoustic sound recordings. But when the sessions are over, the 2 musicians are not too happy with the results of Polaroïd/Roman/Photo: according to them, they lack “flamboyance”. They decide then to record a new female voice with a professional singer and the sound engeneer Patrick Chevalot offers to mix the track in the Synthesis studio “so that it blows out”.

With his tape ready and the help of Jacques Pasquier (S.C.O.P.A. / Invisible records where Ilitch’s second album, 10 Suicides, is released) he starts to contact record companies. “I visited almost all the major record companies and was thrown out every time. Only at RCA’s I found someone interested in my music. It was Francis Fottorino who had signed Kas Product but when it reached the the big boss, no way! Philippe Constantin from Virgin records raised some hope but in vain. The album was finally released in 1985 with Paris Album, a small independant label.”

The album barely sells 50 copies in 1985, despite the eponymous title as a potential success.

« In 2004, 2 DJs Marc Colin and Ivan Smagghe discover the track Polaroïd/Roman/Photo and decide to exhume it from oblvion. They release it on a compilation called So Young but so cold (Tigersushi) and then with Born Bad records on the BIPPP compilation in 2008. Thanks to them, the track and the album start a new life.

Alongside his activity as graphic designer, Thierry Müller carries on producing music under his name, those of ILITCH and RUTH for his own creations and various collaborations.

About RUTH — POLAROÏD/ROMAN/PHOTO by Thierry Müller

What can I say about the album? It’s always difficult to talk about songs …

I wanted to have a concept album with tracks that could be heard on the radio, in discotheques, and that could make the girls dance and the boys laughed at.

The main theme in most of the songs is about / turns around stories of girls / women – boys relationships, except for Thriller (but even there I am not so sure because in the story of this thriller, the hero was led towards his tragic end by a woman).

In every way, it was an album for girls in which they had the first and most pleasant part: they are all charming, impudent, shameless, brazen, funny, endearing and attractive …

THRILLER – It is inspired by a movie I cherish Asphalt Jungle by John Huston. A great film in every way (story, direction, characters, actors, lighting … and I think it was Marylin Monroe’s first appearance in a film).

POLAROÏD/ROMAN/PHOTO – Double meaning in french: Polaroïd / humanoid and Roman/Photo / roman-photo (Novel / Picture / Photo novel).

The story of a sassy girl who teases a boy a bit too romantic for her. She likes him but if he wants her to love him, he needs to be more funny, more relaxed …

SHE BRINGS THE RAIN – I wanted to do a CAN cover. I was interested in them since their first album which I heard at the age of 13 (one of the first records I bought with my pocket money). This song fitted perfectly with the general atmosphere of the album. For the record, it was the first cover of CAN on an album (it has been notified on the first edition of The Can Book by Pascal Bussy.

MISTY MOUSE ( in Mogadon’s Land) – The story of a misty mouse, of a misty sexual intercourse in a misty world …

MABELLE – The story of another romantic boy who can wait all night and even longer for the girl he is in love with…

MOTS – A Text about words, communication, feelings, love … In fact, a text about life.

TU M’ENNUIES – She would like to tell you a story.