Camino Del Sol
||"Camino Del Sol"
||"The Boy From Ipanema"
Among all the late-'70s and early-'80s groups that have been
experiencing their recent rebirth through the countless reissues
popping up, Antena is quite the anomaly. Bringing with them a
love for both early German electronic music and bossa nova, the
French trio relocated from the south of France to Paris in 1981,
and then found themselves in London working with John Foxx. The
former Ultravox member produced their debut single, fittingly
a cover of Jobim's "Boy From Ipanema." The breezy samba
took on a beautiful, almost ethereal feel as a primitive drum
machine, light keyboard, echoed guitar and spacey layers of Isabelle
Powaga's voice gently floated the classic song into the stratosphere.
The single caught the ear of the Les Disques Du Crepuscule label
and, through their partnership with Factory Records by way of
the Brussels based Factory Benelux label, released their only
album. Sadly, this under-supported subsidiary ensured that their
short, self-produced "Camino Del Sol" wouldn't be heard
One of the sweetest and most original releases to come from the
Factory stable, this five-song record should have been a crown
jewel for any of those imprints. Perhaps Antena's mix of simple,
tinkering electronics and lilting synthesizer passages, Powaga's
angelic melodies, and atmospheric jazzy guitar work occasionally
reminiscent of Durutti Column's Vini Reilly, was ill timed as
their "post-punk" contemporaries around them explored
heavier dance rhythms. And while Antena's electro-pop-samba could
be sweet and sultry, there was no lack of adventurism or experimentation.
Their sound is simply otherworldly. Minimalism prevails as instruments
are thoughtfully arranged in a fashion that accents the space
between the layers. Their music feels akin to Young Marble Giants
but with a more sophisticated flair -- songs like "Bye Bye
Papaye" resembles an unimaginable collaboration between YMG
and Sade; and I think it's safe to guess that Antena was as much
of a touchstone for Stereolab as their Krautrock influences.
Unfortunately, Antena would be a short-lived group. In the liner
notes Powaga explains, "We could only do stuff like Camino
Del Sol for a short while. Brussels is very quiet and it suited
that kind of rhythm, but when we moved back to Paris, where the
pace is so much quicker, the music had to change."
I cannot even begin to express how wonderful this reissue is.
Fourteen tracks long, Antena's entire recording career is covered,
not a song disappoints. Whether your interest lies in finding
some unheard bossa nova treasure or digging deeper into the Factory
Records discography than "those bands" covered in 24
Hour Party People, you'll love this! [GH]