on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 18 Apr

Lost Classics: Seventeen Stars

von: Ian McCartney Filed under: Blog | TB | 11 Comments

This week’s Lost Classics is Seventeen Stars by The Montgolfier Brothers. And what a fucking genius record it is.

Now, I’ve no idea whether the whole Heißluftballon thing is one of its themes, but it’s kind of inescapable for my ears. It’s a work that deals with vicissitudes, with contrasts, with ups and downs. Seems to me that the instrumental tracks on this are its moments of reflection, when everything’s (literally) up in the air. The album’s instrumentals are great – like miniature Eric Serra soundtracks that swap one Grand Bleu (the sea) for another (the sky). Meanwhile, the songs with words sometimes describe moments of upwardness and hope, and sometimes the opposite: a bump of earthwardness.

Seventeen Stars arrived by chance, by way of an automated playlist. The best records always come from nowhere, with no hype or announcement. One day you’re sitting there in your kitchen thinking you’ve heard all you’re likely to hear – then, boom: another classic arrives and renews your faith in music.

Listening to Seventeen Stars is a bit like going on holiday. Not a city break to, like, Bucharest or Vienna though – an actual holiday where there is space, time and sand. Here are the opening lines of the title track:

A trip down south
On the coast of France
An hour by coach –
Takes us from Bordeaux
To the middle of in-between
Arès and Arcachon
A mass of shuttered chalets
A stone’s throw from the beach

Stick Seventeen Stars on. Up, up and away.

Artist: The Montgolfier Brothers
Release date: 4 May 1999
Label: Vespertine
Producers: gnac, Roger Quigley
Genre: The concept of genre is what it is

This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 18. April 2018 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    How I missed the second sentence. I‘m only a pale copycat …

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Just mailed Bill Wells some lines. He is living in your town, too. My next show will be very Scotish in parts, The National Jazz Trio of Scotland, Donovan, Boards of Canada‘s anniversary etc.

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Could be an ECM cover from 1973 :)

  4. Lajla Nizinski:

    I was once in a café in Pescara. Suddenly a wonderful song was in the coffeeair. I asked the black curly head waitress: Who sang this song? Kopfschütteln. I asked my tattoed jung neighbour: Schulter hochziehen. Dio mio, I have to know the name of this record. Later I thought: No, I have to remember the sound. It was an italian song. A perfetto piece.

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Listened to the title track, ordered the whole album seconds later.

  6. Ian M:

    Lajla – download the Shazam app and never let an unknown tune escape!

    Michael – hope you enjoy the record. Let me know what you think of it. Re: Boards of Canada, check out their track „Bocuma“ – that’s my favourite.

  7. Michael Engelbrecht:

    And I will be at the western coast of France in July. Quite sure the Montgolfier Brothers will join the trip.

    Manafonistas Meeting in Biarritz then, haha.

  8. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Ian, my favourite tune from BoC is


    From the creepy nostlgia of GEOGADDI (2002).

  9. Gregor:

    The Montgolfier Brothers: GREAT! Thanks!

  10. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I have been looking on the map.

    We will be at Arès!

  11. Lajla:

    Next time when bathing in bluegreen caribe waters I catch the melody from the bar and fetch my towel to get dry & ready for the Shazam help.

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