Alexander von Mehren
Gig Seeker Pro

Alexander von Mehren

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | INDIE

Bergen, Hordaland, Norway | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Alternative Pop

Calendar

Music

Press


"Live video premiere of Winter Comes"

“Pleased to Meet You” artist Alexander von Mehren is a dazzling live performer. Need proof? Check out this video, where the pianist performs “Winter Comes,” a cut from his debut album Aéropop. You can also revisit our previous von Mehren video premiere “Aller-Retour (live)” here. - Under the Radar


"Live video premiere of Aller-Retour"

Slated to come to the U.S. this week for a string of tours, Norwegian artist Alexander von Mehren unfortunately had to pull his tour due to visa issues. (Thanks government shut down.) Lucky for us, the jazz pop pianist has offered up a live video of his song “Aller-Retour” as a consolation prize. You know what? We’re clearly in for a treat when he does hit our shores. Check out the premiere below. You can also revisit von Mehren’s mixtape here. - Under the Radar


"Debut single premiere of La Chanson de Douche"

This might be a comment relying on my admittedly embarrassing level of French, but the new track from Norwegian Alexander Von Mehren is undoubtedly one of the best songs dedicated to a shower.

The 29 year old musician from Bergen brings to bear his classical training, and love for vintage instruments, on this opening track to his forthcoming album Aeropop. It’s an overwhelmingly pleasant slice of lounge-y chamber pop, which struts with a cheeky grin, saxophone solo, and the lush feel of its instrumentation. As all good showers should be, it’s a refreshing start to the day. Sung in French, it’s a pretty and prim take on sweet pop. Listen for yourself below.

La Chanson de Douche comes from Von Mehren’s aforementioned forthcoming album, which has been gestating since 2006, and features international production credits, and a six-piece ensemble. - The Line Of Best Fit


"Nomination for "Live Act of the Year""

Tenk deg: Kunstlete «bibliotekmusikk» med innslag av fransk chambre pop og italiensk filmscore; prunkløs og hjemmeavlet omgang med NATT&DAG-helter som High Llamas og Stereolab, alt sammen orkestrert i et på samme tid yndig og storslagent lydbilde. Hva mer kan du forlange? Dette er Hop-gutten og lingvisten Alexander Von Mehren. Og alt dette klarer han attpåtil – med hjelp av blant annet Chris Holm og Nathalie Nordnes – å gjenskape live. Bravo! - Natt&Dag


"Debut single feature for La Chanson de Douche"

Alexander Von Mehren sings in French and hails from Bergen, Norway. Behold, international appeal! “La Chanson de Douche” (That’s “Shower Song” to all you non-Francophones), is a breezy piece of pop with a light tropical feel. A shower just in time for May flowers. Check it out below and stay tuned for Mehren’s forthcoming full-length. - Under the Radar


"Debut single feature for La Chanson de Douche"

Alexander Von Mehren is a 29-year-old Norwegian who is on the verge of releasing a five-years-in-the-making LP titled Aéropop. He’s the slash type: singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist/human. On Aéropop, he’s credited with playing upright piano, Rhodes, Moog, vibraphone, bass, guitars, drums, and singing. “La Chanson de Douche” is the record’s first single, and rather indie-Francophilic at that, sung in French and registering as a deft blend of Serge and Stereolab. Aéropop was mixed by Chicago post-rock hero John McEntire (with Von Mehren), and features a member of Jaga Jazzist, and I mention these things to help you further situate this track’s dapper lounge-fusion je ne sais quoi. - Stereogum


"Debut single review of La Chanson de Douche"

Ever since I first heard ‘La Chanson de Douche’ (that’s ‘The Shower Song’ for us anglophones), I’ve been trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about this track that seems so captivating. On the surface of it, the debut single from Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Alexander von Mehren is unapologetically decked out in levels of kitsch destined to be met with rolled eyes, groans and jaded sighs – those keys, that sax solo, the sheer quaintness of it all. Von Mehren’s official bio claims an influence from ‘French, German, Italian and British library music, 60s/70s soundtracks, chamber pop à la Stereolab’ and perhaps the more lounge-tinged compositions of the latter would serve as the most obvious reference point for ‘La Chanson de Douche’ – what with its welcoming façade of jazz-without-the-dissonance, its sort of self-consciously middle-class chic. But for all its whimsy, this track is, really, just undeniably charming: this is the sort of music that inspires the wholly sincere use of descriptors like ‘pretty’ and ‘sweet’. ‘La Chanson de Douche’ may well be easy to label as ‘quaint’ but von Mehren’s understated melodicism, together with the exquisite chamber arrangement, exudes an unpretentious class, resulting in a track that somehow manages to be both modest and luxurious. Perhaps the song’s stately poise is symptomatic of the seven-year gestation period of von Mehren’s yet-to-be-released debut album Aeropop which is due out later this year. Certainly, such a careful balance of musical elements betrays the work of a sonic perfectionist – von Mehren’s music might be easy on the ear, but it’s not simply easy-listening. - Peel Apart


"Music video premiere of La Chanson de Douche"

Last month we brought you “La Chanson De Douche,” the first, francophonic single from Norwegian singer-songwriter-producer-composer Alexander Von Mehren and his forthcoming Aéropop LP. The track’s dapper, Serge-on-Stereolab lounge-fusion has a video now, set in a golden ski-lodge type retreat, with footage of outdoors lamping and indoors performing captured viaSuper 8 and Canon 5D, for a nice mix of the halcyon and pristine. - Stereogum


"Music video feature for La Chanson de Douche"

Shot partially in Super 8 film for a vintage look, Alexander von Mehren’s “La Chanson de Douche” is a new take on the ’60s French pop/Serge Gainsbourg sound. However, you might be surprised to find out that the songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is Norwegian. The video was shot in and around von Mehren’s hometown of Bergen, Norway. - MTV Iggy


"Album announcement for Aéropop"

To get your Friday started off right, we're proud to premiere a new light and airy track coming all the way from Norway!

29 year old pianist-songwriter-producer-extrordinaire Alexander von Mehren is about to release his bi-lingual (French and English) alt-pop debut album Aéropop (available August 20th via The Control Group) and successfully brings listeners into his world of '60s and '70s influenced dream pop with his new single "Winter Comes."

Heavily reminiscent of GMG 41 cover stars of Montreal's "Penelope" (from 2001's Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse), "Winter Comes" features a bouncy beat decorated beautifully by a string and woodwind section that carefully helps you float through the three minute track. Beyond von Mehren's interest in the analog and vintage soundtracks, you can definitely hear some Kevin Barnes influence--especially in the song's disco-synth breakdown.

Get caught up with von Mehren in "Winter Comes" now and make sure to check out Aéropop's track listing below!
- See more at: http://filtermagazine.com/index.php/media/entry/listen_enter_the_bouncy_world_of_alexander_von_mehren_with_winter_comes_fil#sthash.O41tYL6t.dpuf - Filter Magazine


"Album announcement for Aéropop"

It seems like write-ups of every Scandinavian musician must include a mention of two things. 1. The weather is pretty extreme that far north. (Winters are cold there, y’all!). 2. They don’t get a lot of light during that season. (Breaking news: darkness is dark!) Which is why it’s fun to introduce cliché-destroying composer Alexander von Mehren. While it’s easy to picture the Bergen-based Norwegian musician pounding away at his piano during the dregs of the year, and he certainly has benefited from classical training (oh hey, a third cliché discussion point!), the fruits of his labor are anything but icy.

Skewing much warmer, von Mehren blends cinematic jazz and pop with French and English lyrics. This is the kind of music that would make for an ideal Jean-Luc Godard film score, or a backdrop for a cocktail party—that is, provided you’re planning on throwing your soirée in outer space. Stereolab fans take note: this is warm, big-hearted, and occasionally weird music, likely to have Laetitia Sadier and the gang experiencing a competitive twinge.

Von Mehren’s debut album Aéropop will be released August 20 via The Control Group. It was mixed by John McEntire (Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) and features a member of Jaga Jazzist in the backing band. - MTV Iggy


"Single review of Winter Comes"

It would perhaps make more sense if Alexander von Mehren was from the Southern Hemisphere, but he's not. He's from Norway. Now, Norway might be a little colder than some countries, but it's far from being winter-like there at the moment, so the choice of this track as the promo for his album 'Aéropop' which is out on August 20th seems a little odd, but the song isn't particularly wintry in any way, so perhaps it'll work fine. As a producer, composer, arranger and musician, von Mehren has managed a lot of the album himself, with a few guest spots along the way.

Inspired by '60s and '70s pop, perhaps Abbey Road was the perfect recording location for him, as there is a hint of The Beatles about this song, and the arrangements are as rich as their later works, with all kind of instruments vying for space and managing to work perfectly in unison rather than sounding cluttered. It's ironic that this is such a summery song to listen to, but perhaps that was the plan all along. Whatever the plan was, it seems to have worked, because you can put us down as being excited about the coming album. - The Sound Of Confusion


"Single review of Natural Selection"

Here’s another taste from Norwegian jazz/pop composer Alexander von Mehren’s debut full-length. (Due out August 20 via The Control Group.) There’s a splash of Sufjan Stevens circa Illinois, mixed with some nice otherworldly cocktail grooves. Bliss out below, or revisit previous tracks “Winter Comes” and “La Chanson De Douche” here and here. - Under the Radar


"Announcement as Artist Of The Week"

We have a new Artist of the Week to celebrate and his name is Alexander von Mehren. - MTV Iggy


"Daily Download of Natural Selection"

'Natural Selection' was recorded between 2007 and 2010, is the longest track of the album and also the track that took the longest to record," Alexander von Mehren tells Rolling Stone. "This constant trial and error through somewhat more artificial or subjective selection of parts and arrangements is a way for me to deal with the range of possibilities in music writing of which indecisiveness – another theme of the song – is one of the obstacles to overcome. - Rolling Stone


"MP3 Of The Week: Natural Selection"

Alexander von Mehren, just shy of 30, has already become an established composer, arranger, and producer. - Insound


"Exclusive album premiere of Aéropop"

Following 10 years of classical music training, Alexander Von Mehren decided to build a recording studio in Bergen, Norway, and make his pop music masterpiece. Aeropop is the culmination of five years of work, drawing inspiration from French, German, Italian and British library music, 60s/70s film soundtracks and contemporary bands like Stereolab, the High Llamas and Chicago post-rock. We think it's one of the more special releases we've heard this year. - Hype Machine


"Album review of Aéropop"

The Norwegian arranger, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Alexander Von Mehren began recording his 2013 debut album, Aéropop, in 2005 and finished it up in 2010. The time was well spent, as the finished product is an exquisitely crafted, richly arranged modern pop gem. Taking influence from bossa nova, cocktail jazz, lounge music, and Burt Bacharach-ian complicated pop, the music is also heavily inspired by the High Llamas and their interpretation of all those elements. Indeed, large chunks of Aéropop sound like they could have been lifted from a Llamas album or a Sean O'Hagan-produced chunk of a Stereolab album. He even titles a song "Switched On." Still, it seems like a stretch to say Von Mehren is flat-out stealing from O'Hagan, though more likely they came to similar conclusions -- lots of sweeping strings, gently crooning horns, layered vocal harmonies, and Von Mehren's piano in the center of it all -- when mixing up and pouring out their influences. Plus, there is far more jazz in the mix here, in Von Mehren's piano style and especially on the seven-part suite that closes the album in relaxed and soothing style. Even if the overall impression is that Aéropop does come pretty close to the Llamas sound, there's enough artful arranging, subtle performance, and melodic invention going on to make it a worthwhile listening experience regardless. It's music tailor-made for easy listening, created by a musician with full control over his craft and imbued with a tender grace that makes the album simple to appreciate. There's certainly room for another musician who can do that as well as Von Mehren does on Aéropop. - AllMusic.com


"Album review of Aéropop"

Sometimes a record drops into your lap so serendipitously. Lately I've been dusting off a lot of albums from the late '90s and early aughts, as things like Stereolab, High Llamas, and some Tortoise-related bands have all been back in rotation, sounding no worse for the wear. One of the common threads in the unique feel of those records was Tortoise's John McEntire, so it's no surprise to find his fingerprints all over the debut of Alexander Von Mehren. Von Mehren is Norwegian but his heart is clearly planted in turn-of-the-century Chicago, and the vintage '60s/'70s artists that inspired that scene -- sun-baked orchestral pop that was both beautiful and wonderfully weird. Von Mehren keeps Aeropop in constant motion by peppering his pop confections with short instrumental interludes that serve as bridges between the more crafted, "proper" songs, even giving the direct nod to Stereolab with a quick "Switched On" run-through in one of these sections. One of the things that people tend to forget when talking about the music that Von Mehren references is that it wasn't just formalist academia, exotica workouts and socio-political sloganeering. There was a lightness of touch and playfulness to much of the music, and Von Mehren sagely recovers this spirit, while keeping a sophisticated, seductive gravity intact that brings to mind Serge Gainsbourg at his deadliest. With recent reissues of much of the music that informs it, Aeropop is a consolidation of strengths, and timely reminder of what made this stuff such a breath of fresh air to begin with. - Other Music


"Radio feature with interview with Alexander von Mehren and music from Aéropop"

Alexander von Mehren, a 29-year-old Norwegian musician is based in Bergen and has just released an album called Aéropop.

He says he chose to call the album Aéropop because it's a way of describing the music. "It kind of symbolizes something airy and fresh, but still accessible like pop music and there's still has a depth to it," he says.

The recording of this album took a really long time. Von Mehren started in 2005 and worked on it continuously until 2010.

He says his way of working with music is really time consuming. "I write and record everything myself," he says, "mixing it myself, going through the tracks many times and revising until I'm happy with the results."

Listen below to the track "La Chanson De Douche." Van Mehren sung it in French. Why? He says that when he wrote it he thought it had a sort-of French sound to it. - PRI's The World


"Announcement as Artist You Should Know"

Listening to Norwegian artist, Alexander Von Mehren’s debut, “Aeropop“, conjures up thoughts of Stereolab, The Beatles and The High Llamas – the harmonies, the orchestration, and the homage to all of the great library music from France and Italy that has clearly inspired him so much.

So it’s not surprising that when I read the credits and a little bit about the album, I discovered that it was mixed by John McEntire (Stereolab, The Sea & Cake) and has players from The High Llamas, Jaga Jazzist and Orwell.

Von Mehren plays all of the instruments himself and it’s spirit coalesces for me on the song “Winter Comes.”

Maybe I was drawn to it because we were in the middle of the late summer LA heatwave.

Really though, it’s the light touch and fun of the vocal, the lyrics and the arrangement.

As with a very good dessert, this is an album to be tasted bit by bit rather than devoured all at once. - KCRW


"Today's Top Tune: Winter Comes"

Aéropop, the debut album from Norwegian artist Alexander von Mehren was mixed at Abbey Road Studios and seems to have soaked in some of the vibes. It's a cross between orchestrated Beatles and soundtracks from the 60's and 70's. Today's Top Tune is the track "Winter Comes." - KCRW


"Single review of Natural Selection"

Here’s another taste from Norwegian jazz/pop composer Alexander von Mehren’s debut full-length. (Due out August 20 via The Control Group.) There’s a splash of Sufjan Stevens circa Illinois, mixed with some nice otherworldly cocktail grooves. Bliss out below, or revisit previous tracks “Winter Comes” and “La Chanson De Douche” here and here. - Under The Radar


"Live review from by:Larm, Oslo, Norway"

The Bergen, Norway-based singer/songwriter released his debut album Aéropop last year on Control Group, but you’d have a hard time placing it in any musical timeline. Marrying traditional jazz with a spacey sound palette, his is a world slung halfway between Stereolab and Vince Guaraldi. It’s a mixture that sounds both cocktail party classic and impossibly modern—even if it does prove to be a bit of a challenge to describe. Dare we use a cliché phrase like “old soul?” Or worse yet, employ the dreaded ARTIST XX of COUNTRY OF ORGIN formula? (Heck no. Although you’d be lying if you said you didn't hear a tiny bit of Sufjan Stevens in “Natural Selection.”)

Although unable to fully replicate the complex sound of his album, von Mehren made use of his additional musicians (which included a drummer, guitarist, and horn player), transforming Café Mono into something closer to a swinging club than dive bar. It was the kind of transformative performance that reaches far past a half-hour set. (Then again, there are rarely shows that I wish were shorter—so perhaps this compliment only partially counts.) If you’ll forgive the blatant foreshadowing, it was a promising start to the week. - Under the Radar


"Live video premiere of Natural Selection"

Here’s a new live video from Alexander von Mehren. The dazzling, Stereolab-leaning tune comes the Bergen, Norway-based musician’s debut album Aéropop (out now on Control Group).

If you’re headed to SXSW, be sure to check out von Mehren’s live dates at the bottom of the page. And if you need more convincing, be sure to check out his live performances of “Winter Comes” and “Aller-Retour.” - Under the Radar


"Review of Aérosuite (Sean O'Hagan Remix - The House That Jack Built)"

I’m back from SXSW, where I was thoroughly consumed by Tacos, shitty beer and tons of indie rock and hip-hop, so this dude is a beautiful and chilled out escape from all that. Alexander von Mehren is a Norwegian singer and multi-instrumentalist who released his debut album Aéropop (The Control Goup) earlier this year. The record is filled with European soundtrack samples and inspiration, jangly electro-pop that sounds like it came from 1974 and channels the Beatles in just the right ways to form a unique blend of alt-pop. Extra props for the French vocals – very vibey and awesome.

Today, we get this sweet psyched out remix of the song “Aerosuite,” courtesy of Sean O’ Hagan (Stereolab, High Llamas) with enough synths and strings for anyone to grab on to. Give it a spin and let it wash your Tuesday blues away. - Kick Kick Snare


"Review of Aérosuite (Sean O'Hagan Remix - The House That Jack Built)"

Fresh off a successful trip to SXSW, Norwegian singer and instrumentalist Alexander von Mehren has delivered a decadent, psyched out remix of the song "Aerosuite" courtesy of Sean O' Hagan of Stereolab and High Llamas.

Alexander von Mehren is a 29 year-old pianist, songwriter and producer from Bergen, Norway. Von Mehren’s debut album that dropped earlier this year, Aéropop, was recorded over a five-year period in his own studio, The Guestroom, mixed by John McEntire (Stereolab, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) and von Mehren at Soma Electronic Music Studios. The project was then mastered in Chicago by Steve Rooke (The Beatles, David Bowie) at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Primarily influenced by French, British and Italian library music and soundtracks of the 60s and 70s, von Mehren channels The Beatles airy and vibrant sound into his music. Although the original of "Aerosuite" is phenomenal, the additional instrumentation and production we see from O'Hagan truly gives the track a characteristic I'm unable to ignore. I'm fascinated with the organ synth he utilizes, and this track will definitely be on my 'sunny day' playlist.

Peep this live video of von Mehren's "Natural Selection" here, and give his Aeropop project a chance. O'Hagan's remix will appear on von Mehren's forthcoming remix EP, Aeropop Revisited and is set to release in August via The Control Group. - Earmilk


"Live review from SXSW, Austin, USA"

I’m a big fan of Alexander von Mehren, and the fact that I just saw him a few weeks ago wasn’t going to stop me from closing out my festival by seeing him perform again. The venue, a bar featuring wrestling on its big screens, wasn’t exactly suited to the Norwegian pianist’s brand of French-infused space pop—but that didn’t stop the musician from turning in technically outstanding and just downright charming performance. (I have never hated myself more for giving up my childhood piano lessons.) “My name is Alexander von Mehren,” he told the small audience with a smirk. “And if you want to know how to spell that, you can buy my album.” Here’s hoping they all complied. - Under the Radar


"Interview with Alexander von Mehren"

Il aura fallu attendre sa dissolution quasi définitive, pour mesurer à quel point Stereolab a marqué de son empreinte indélébile une génération entière de musiciens pop. Car c'est en effet au groupe culte franco-britannique de Tim Gane et Laetitia Sadier que l'on pense d'emblée lorsque retentissent les premières mesures d'"Aéropop", le premier LP d'Alexander von Mehren. Le Norvégien emprunte à Stereolab son goût pour les chansons-millefeuilles à tiroirs parsemées de ruptures stylistiques impromptues, de sonorités cyber-rétro-pop et de crossovers érudits entre musiques savantes et populaires.

Mais si le musicien affiche d'entrée ses influences, c'est pour mieux les magnifier par la suite. Tout au long de l'album, il ne cesse de creuser le sillon d'une pop spacieuse, lumineuse et aérienne avec une maniaquerie qui confine presque à l'obsession, comme s'il voulait reprendre les choses là où les avait laissées Stereolab il y a quelques années après les sorties de "Cobra and Phases Group" et "Sound Dust". Sans pour autant verser dans l'exercice de style pur et simple, "Aéropop" explore donc de fond en comble une même idée, un peu à la manière de ce qu'ont pu faire les merveilleux High Llamas sur "Hawaï" au milieu des années 90. Une sorte d'album concept pour geek de la pop mais qui reste paradoxalement accessible à tous, notamment grâce à des compostions aussi immédiates que sophistiquées bénéficiant d'une production luxueuse et d'un habillage sonore raffiné à mi chemin entre easy listening, smooth jazz, library music et flight-pop.

De la ballade inaugurale légèrement groovy "La Chanson de Douche" à la radieuse et touffue "Natural Selection" - véritable climax de l'album - en passant par la virevoltante fantaisie sixties "Aérosuite, partie A", von Mehren aime à installer des climats instrumentaux, à tracer les contours de paysages sonores vallonnés et printaniers, concevant avec minutie la bande-son idéale d'un voyage aérien qui relierait Bergen (sa ville d'origine) à Paris (l'artiste est épris de culture française). Tout cela, bien sûr, à grand renfort de violons, trompettes, flûtes et d'une palanquée de claviers (rhodes, moog, vibraphone, piano) qu'il arrange ou joue la plupart du temps lui-même avec une aisance proprement hallucinante pour un premier essai. Mais au fait, qui est donc ce génial homme-orchestre dont on ignorait jusque-là à peu près tout ? Réponse en compagnie du principal intéressé.

Tu as une formation musicale classique assez poussée. A quel moment as-tu découvert la musique pop et pris conscience que tu allais t'exprimer via ce médium ?

Dès l'âge de 4 ans, j'ai passé beaucoup de temps à jouer du piano à l’étage de notre maison à Bergen, en essayant de reproduire ce que j’entendais sur les vieux CD des Beatles de mon père. J’ai rapidement commencé à composer de petites mélodies au piano et à 7 ans mes parents m’ont inscrit aux cours de la Bergen Music School. Là-bas, j'ai énormément appris sur la précision, le rythme et la technique, tout en étudiant de grands compositeurs comme Bach, Mozart ou Grieg - dont la maison se trouvait à quelques mètres du lieu où j’ai grandi . Durant ces dix années d’éducation classique, j’ai continué à développer mon intérêt pour la musique pop, particulièrement après la découverte de The High Llamas et Stereolab en1999. C'est ce qui m'a donné envie de faire de la pop et de me pencher sur la composition, les arrangements et la production. Particulièrement la production, l'album "Sound Dust" de Stereolab m'a, en ce sens, réellement marqué. Ça a d'ailleurs été une formidable expérience de travailler avec John McEntire, l'un des producteurs de cet album, pour le mixage d'"Aéropop".

Peux-tu nous raconter le parcours qui t'as amené à publier ton premier album "Aéropop" que tu as écrit, joué, arrangé et produit quasiment seul ?

L’écriture de certaines chansons - comme "Teria" et "Winter Comes" - remonte à 2001, mais je n'ai décidé de composer un album complet qu'à partir de 2006. Au moment de débuter l'enregistrement, je ne pensais pas que cela prendrait huit années pour le sortir ! Mais en travaillant sur les différents morceaux, je n’ai jamais ressenti de pression particulière pour finir l’album. Je voulais avancer à mon rythme, écrire méticuleusement les arrangements et faire évoluer sans cesse la structure et la production des chansons, en y ajoutant de nouveaux instruments dont je venais d'apprendre à jouer. "Natural Selection" - la plus longue chanson de l’album et aussi celle qui a pris le plus de temps à être enregistrée - évoque ce sujet. Elle est symptomatique de la manière dont s'est déroulé le processus d'enregistrement. Multiplier les allers-retours incessants, les essais et les erreurs, était une façon d'étudier le champ des possibilités qui s'offrait à moi. L'indécision - qui est d'ailleurs un autre thème de "Natural Selection" - a été un autre obstacle à surmonter.

Avais-tu en tête au moment de composer, la couleur des arrangements et de la production qu'allait prendre ces chansons ?

Ce dont j'étais sûr, c'est que les sonorités de l'album devaient être aérées, fraîches et organiques, que ma musique devait être à la fois accessible et recherchée, que l'on puisse découvrir à chaque écoute de nouvelles choses. C'est cette volonté qui apporte, j'espère, une certaine homogénéité à l'album. Le choix des instruments m’est venu très naturellement – je voulais rester fidèle à mes idées et habiller les chansons de sons qui correspondaient au sentiment et à l’atmosphère que j'avais en tête. Je savais que je voulais faire appel à un autre producteur pour le mixage, et McEntire a été mon premier choix car j’avais beaucoup écouté ses différentes productions et je voulais sa patte et sa signature sur l’album. Après le mixage, je suis allé au studio Abbey Road à Londres pour perfectionner l’album avec Steve Rooke, un très bon ingénieur en mastering qui a travaillé auparavant sur quelques uns de mes albums favoris et qui est aussi celui qui a remastérisé tout le répertoire des Beatles. Une fois l’album terminé j’ai commencé à contacter des labels et j’ai réussi à signer un contrat avec The Control Group en Amérique du Nord, Folkwit Records en Grande Bretagne, Rallye Label au Japon et Klangkollektivet en Norvège, avec lesquels je suis très heureux. Mon propre label, Aéropop Records, couvre le reste de l’Europe, dont la France.

L'album sonne comme la bande-son d'un voyage aérien. L'univers visuel de la pochette peut d'ailleurs évoquer celui d'une célèbre compagnie aérienne. A-t-il été imaginé dans ce sens là ? Installer un climat, un paysage sonore bien défini était-il une volonté de ta part ?

Absolument, je compose toujours en ayant des images en tête - elles font partie intégrante des idées musicales et me guident à travers l’atmosphère, l’instrumentation et la production des chansons. C’est un album de mouvement et de variété, et il y avait en effet beaucoup de mots-clés et de concepts dans cet album en général, "le voyage aérien" n’étant que l’un d’entre eux...

Le public français ne te connaît pas encore très bien mais tu sembles en revanche bien connaître la France - certaines de tes chansons, parmi lesquels le single "La Chanson de Douche", sont chantées dans notre langue. Clairement, la culture française semble être une source d'inspiration pour ta musique.

J’adore le français et la France est un si beau pays ! J’ai écouté tellement de musique française, une majorité étant des instrumentaux de library music ou de bandes originales. Je suis un grand fan de Janko Nilovic, un compositeur franco-monténégrin qui a travaillé avec l’excellent label Montparnasse 2000. J’adore évidemment l’album épique de Serge Gainsbourg "Histoire de Melody Nelson" tout comme la voix et les textes de Laetitia Sadier. J'ai également toujours suivi le label Tricatel et ce que fait Bertrand Burgalat. De plus, j’ai eu le plaisir de travailler avec d’excellents musiciens français comme Orwell et Chris Joss qui sont tous les deux incroyables ! Et j’ai aussi signé dans une agence française de synchronisation qui s'appelle Creaminal. Donc oui, on peut dire que je suis très attaché à la culture française. Quand je travaillais sur la composition de "Champs-Elysées" et "La Chanson de Douche", l’ambiance de ces titres m'apparaissait comme très française, donc j’ai décidé qu’elles devraient avoir des paroles en français – tout en restant, une fois de plus, fidèle à mes idées musicales inaugurales.

Tu parlais tout à l'heure de ta découverte de Stereolab et de The High Llamas qui a été déterminante dans ta façon d'envisager la musique. Sur l'album, on sent un très fort cousinage avec ces groupes – autant au niveau des sonorités utilisées que de la structure des morceaux. On pourrait résumer en parlant d'un certain goût pour la pop savante mâtinée de rétro-futurisme…

Oui, comme je le disais, je suis un grand fan de ces deux groupes et leur façon de travailler leurs arrangements et leur structure m’a certainement beaucoup appris. Mais, il y a de nombreuses autres influences sur "Aeropop". J’ai toujours eu une approche assez analytique en écoutant de la musique, m’inspirant, par exemple, des percussions de Earl Palmer sur les CD de David Axelrod, des basses de Bertrand Burgalat et des arrangements de cordes et des cuivres de Sean O’Hagan. Même si je suis imprégné par tout cela - et bien d'autres -, j’espère avoir tout de même développé mes propres sons et ma propre signature au fil des années. Mais j’ai toujours envie de créer de nouveaux paysages sonores, je travaille en permanence sur ce thème-là. C’est difficile de définir ma musique, de la ranger dans une catégorie mais on peut évidemment parler de pop. Et ça ne me dérange pas qu’on utilise le terme "rétro-futuriste" car j’apprécie et je m’inspire de la musique, de l’art et du design du passé, notamment la période qui couvre les années 1969 et 1974.

Justement, le risque qui menace pléthore de musiciens est d'être obsédé par ses influences au point d'en livrer une récitation scolaire et parfois passéiste. As-tu une recette pour éviter cela ?

J’ai toujours voulu créer mon propre univers musical, ça n'aurait aucun intérêt de reproduire ce qui existe déjà. Mes influences sont toujours présentes dans mon esprit, mais au final c’est la combinaison de différents éléments musicaux -ma production, mes arrangements et mon instrumentation- qui participent à créer l’atmosphère de ma musique qui, j'espère, paraîtra un peu originale aux gens qui l'écouteront. De plus, je voudrais que la version live de mon projet soit quelque peu différente, avec plus de caractère et de rythme que la version studio. Donc j’espère que ça donnera envie aux spectateurs des concerts d’écouter l’album et à ceux qui ont l’album de venir me voir en concert.

Autres influences que tu évoquais, les B.O de films et la library music des sixties et seventies. Peux-tu nous donner quelques noms d'artistes que tu apprécies particulièrement ?

Oh, il y en a tellement ! Dernièrement, je n’ai écouté que des chansons et de la musique italiennes comme Piero Umiliani ("Paesaggi"), Piero Piccioni ("Peccato Mortale") et Ennio Morricone ("Vergogna Schifosi") – tous de fabuleux compositeurs avec des très beaux albums. "Rythmes Contemporains" de Janko Nilovic, dont j’ai déjà parlé, est incroyable et Sven Libæk ("Solar Flares"), Stringtronics ("Mindbender"), Oronzo De Filippi ("Meccanizzazione") et Alan Moorhouse ("KPM The Big Beat Volume 1") sont tout aussi excellents. J’ai aussi beacoup écouté de musique des années 90 et 2000 de la scène musicale de Chicago, par exemple Tortoise, The Sea and Cake, Jim O'Rourke, David Grubbs et Gastr del Sol. Parmi les artistes et groupes plus contemporains, j’aime bien Tame Impala, Melody's Echo Chamber, Chris Holm et Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

La vie a l’air d’être agréable à Bergen. Est-ce un endroit propice pour faire de la musique ? Ces dernières années, sont parvenus jusqu'à nos oreilles de nombreux artistes bergenois comme Kings of Convenience, Young Dreams, ou The New Wine. Comment expliquer un tel bouillonnement créatif dans une ville pourtant si petite ?

Oui, on peut dire que c'est une bonne ville pour faire de la musique, il pleut tellement que nous passons beaucoup de temps chez nous à composer ! (Rires) Sinon, c’est une ville magnifique remplie de gens géniaux dont beaucoup sont des artistes donc c’est forcément un endroit idéal pour créer de la musique, de l’art. La scène musicale n'est pas très grande donc les musiciens et les producteurs sont facilement en contact les uns avec les autres et se rencontrent sur de nombreux projets. Nous nous entraidons sur les live et les enregistrements, et de plus en plus de labels sont créés à Bergen, comme celui avec lequel je travaille en ce moment, l’excellent Klangkollektivet – fondé par de jeunes gens idéalistes qui partagent le même amour de la musique. Clairement, il y a beaucoup de gens qui aiment la musique alternative et underground à Bergen.

Quels sont tes projets pour l’avenir ?

Je suis toujours en train d’écrire de nouvelles compositions, donc il y aura forcément un autre album – disons dans quelques années (rires) ! Je fais aussi des concerts à Oslo en février et une performance à SXSW en mars. J’espère vraiment programmer plus de live à l’étranger cette année et surtout en France ! Et je vais sortir un EP un peu plus tard cette année qui sera composé de remix de chansons de "Aeropop" par des musiciens comme Sean O'Hagan (The High Llamas), John McEntire (Tortoise), Andy Ramsay (Stereolab) et Orwell, donc je suis très impatient ! - Popnews


"Nomination of La Chanson de Douche for "Music Video of the Year""

Årets konkurranseprogram for musikkvideo. - The Norwegian Short Film Festival


"Single premiere of Aérosuite (Sean O'Hagan Remix - The House That Jack Built)"

Norwegian pianist Alexander von Mehren plays with textures and tones that split the difference between 1960s pop and space-age soundtracks. Sean O'Hagan’s (The High Llamas/Stereolab) remix of Aéropop track Aérosuite pushes the playful factor of Mehren’s work even further, adding hypnotic lyrics about “Jack the Builder.” Listen to Sean O'Hagan’s rework below. You can grab the track on Sept 23 (if you live in Norway or the U.S.), Sept 22 (if you live in the UK).

For more von Mehren, stay tuned, Aéropop Revisited, an EP full of remixes, is due out Oct 28 on The Control Group. - Under the Radar


Discography

Aeropop (debut album released late August via The Control Group (North America), Rallye Label (Japan), Folkwit Records (UK) and Klangkollektivet (Norway) under exclusive licence by Aeropop Records. Also released digitally worldwide via Aeropop Records).

La Chanson de Douche / Winter Comes (2-track digital single released by The Control Group (North America) and Klangkollektivet (Norway) under exclusive license by Aeropop Records).

Photos

Bio

Alexander von Mehren (b. 1984) is a Norwegian pianist, songwriter and producer. His self-recorded debut album, Aéropop, was mixed with John McEntire (Stereolab, Tortoise, The Sea and Cake) in Chicago and mastered with Steve Rooke (The Beatles, David Bowie) at Abbey Road Studios in London. The album, which also features contributions from members of The High Llamas, Jaga Jazzist and Orwell, is especially inspired by British, French and Italian library music and soundtracks of the 60s and 70s, and is focused primarily on orchestrated alternative pop music sung in French and English (in addition to instrumental tracks). von Mehren plays most of the instruments on the album himself, including upright piano, Fender Rhodes, Moog, vibraphone, bass and drums.

Aéropop was released on 180-grams double vinyl, CD and digital download August/September 2013 via The Control Group (North America), Rallye Label (Japan), Folkwit Records (United Kingdom), Klangkollektivet (Norway) and Aéropop Records (Rest of World), and the album has gained a great deal of international attention, for instance at AllMusic («...an exquisitely crafted, richly arranged modern pop gem»), Other Music («...brings to mind Serge Gainsbourg at his deadliest»), Hype Machine («...one of the more special releases we've heard this year»), MTV Iggy, Rolling Stone, Filter Magazine, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, KCRW and Under the Radar.

Following the enthusiasm around his debut album, Aéropop Revisited was released worldwide late 2014, featuring remixes of selected tracks from Aéropop by Sean O'Hagan (The High Llamas), Andy Ramsay & Joe Watson (Stereolab), Orwell, Young Dreams, Dave LeBleu (The Mercury Program) and Crookram. The EP was mastered by Alex Wharton (The Beatles, Radiohead, Nick Cave) at Abbey Road Studios.

Band Members