Music For Writers: When Florent Ghys Watches ‘Télévision’

Image - iStockphoto: klikk
Image – iStockphoto: klikk

Forget Your Writing Prompts

This is the album of the future, and it’s fast becoming a hit.

So says a pert, authoritative voice in the opening of the second track on composer-performer Florent Ghys’ new album Télévision from Cantaloupe Music.

It’s called a CD. That’s short for compact disc. The music on one of these is recorded by a computer. When you play it back through a sound system, it’s better than any recording you’ve ever heard.

Florent Ghys
Florent Ghys

As the voice, straight out of somebody’s Futurama, goes on announcing the glories of CDs, a double bass is being bowed in a fine, jazzy-busy way that gradually overtakes our helpful, informative voice.

You can program a big or little disc player to start on the sixteenth or nineteenth song. You can fast-forward to a section you like. You can repeat a phrase that moves you. You can repeat a phrase that moves you. You can repeat a phrase that moves you. You can….

Get into your headphones for this one and enjoy it as you read, courtesy of New York Public Radio’s Q2 Music, which is making the entire album free to you to hear as Album of the Week.

Ghys, who is from Bordeaux and is based in Brooklyn, writes, “Télévision is about weather reports, digital music, plastic beauty, synesthesia, and dance.”

There’s video with this one, some of which you can see here on Ghys’ site. To my mind, the video is a distraction that ties the concept too closely to the album’s title. I like music, in part, because it’s not like watching TV. Especially this music, which is triggered by it. You may disagree with me, which is always fine, of course. I disagree with myself several times a day.

And as violist Doyle Armbrust writes at Q2 Music:

Fear not, children raised by Zeniths and Vizios, Télévision is not an indictment of the idiot box, but a one-person paean to the unintentional poetry it emits and, in this case, inspires.

You know those maddening “writing prompts” that end up wasting your time with descriptive writings about “a leaf that fell to the sidewalk in front of you as you walked home yesterday” or “your favorite memory from your sixth birthday party”?

Use this album instead.

Drop in on “No Lemon, No Melon.” You’ll hear the title spoken in a way that sounds fully as inarticulate as you may feel at the start of a writing session. And then stringed tones gently come together under a little birdsong to deliver a lovely, warming adagio, all synthesized into a calming, gracious — and slightly scraping (you’ll hear it) — meditation. Picking up energy and percussion, the piece drops you off in a better spot than you started.

In “Moulinex” — “for double basses, guitars, shakers, snare drums, hi-hat, bass drum, and hair dryers” — small appliances do rev up. But in Ghys’ hands, plucky, round tones meet and pass the machinery, then stand back to let a 1200-watt model take a ride. Rippling, rich textures on the frets and a sweetly restrained turn on a snare create — Ghys, forgive me — an irresistible musical coif.

As the Cantaloupe liner notes tell us:

On Télévision, Florent Ghys plays, performs and perpetrates: alto double bass, applause, bass drum, editing, guitar, hair dryers, hand claps, hi-hat, Max programming, mouth hi-hat, piano, shakers, snare, solfège, video, voice and weather reports.

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: Music For Writers: When Florent Ghys Watches ‘Télévision’

Originally published by Thought Catalog at



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