Only just barely do I have the balls to write about music, even as obliquely as I will here; my boyfriend is, to scratch the surface, a bloodhound for hot jams. However, I couldn’t help (three weeks later) discovering the many fascinating tidbits about Franz Ferdinand’s latest record and how they recorded it. Besides, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand could easily, from a few angles actually, be considered a performance, especially in conjunction with the above meta-interview/genius marketing move/”Electronic Press Kit.”
Like film actors, Franz Ferdinand can polish their money shots in environments with varying levels of intimacy (they even refer to “cutting” between spaces with contrasting acoustics for different sections of the same recording). This isn’t to say, however, that the Scotch 4-piece couldn’t play these 12 tracks tight, front to back (“the whole process was keeping it, uh, sort of as a live performance,” says Alex Kapranos). As the video teases out (along with a few flawlessly delivered, beautiful little jokes), the recording process (in an old town hall) birthed for the band a “perf stud” crash course, partially induced by a unique, history-drenched piece of municipal architecture. If it recalls anything in contemporary culture it’s David Bryne’s East River installation piece from last year (I went, it was fucking awesome) or, conceptually at least, The Fiery Furnaces’ concept-album-wif-gram Rehearsing My Choir. Which could be no coincidence, seeing as how Kapranos is deep in an LTR with Eleanor Friedberger.
(I’m very happy for them both and I love The Fiery Furnaces.)
Anyway, this “press kit” is terrific: It manages to be a sweet, simple acknowledgment of the joy of the creative process, a giddy bit of showoffy cleverness, and avant-garde advertising all at once. I also like the fact that there is no one outside the band (at least outwardly) “anchoring” the experience–they’re interviewing themselves about their own music. And, really, who else should be telling you about it? As Kapranos himself writes in the video’s YouTube notes
Tonight: Franz Ferdinand is music of the night: to fling yourself around your room to as you psyche yourself for a night of hedonism, for the dance-floor, flirtation, for your desolate heart-stop, for losing it and loving losing it, for the chemical surge in your bloodstream. Its for that lonely hour gently rocking yourself waiting for dawn and it all to be even again.