| I landed in Nassau, Bahamas, in early 1980 for what was supposed to be one quick job, and turned out to be a 10 year extravaganza.
That year, we cut enough tracks for Grace Jones to allow release of two albums 'Warm Leatherette' and 'Nightclubbing'. Blackwell showed real enthousiasm for what he thought could become an ideal carribean version of the Tamla Motown or Memphis Sound team concept. But, at first, I did not feel too excited with the all too apparent 'slackness' of the sessions somewhat.
Back in Paris later that year, as I was driving back home out of yet another regular disco session, I played a rough mix cassette of 'Warm Leatherette' through my car-radio. And, as I couldn't stop playing back 'Private Life', I suddenly realized how foolish I was not see the value of what went on in Nassau. Despite the rumbling of the parisian pavements, life came out my car speakers like nothing before, thanks to Sly & Robbie rock solid foundations, Alex Sadkin's fine ears and magic fingers, and Blackwell's visions.
In Paris, 9.00 a.m meant 9.00 a.m and my gear was up and ready 5 mn before 9. At Compass Point, a 4.00 p.m session easily ended up starting at 9.00 p.m, and that would drive me crazy. But the end result made the whole difference. Could what I took for 'slackness' rather be wisdom, i.e. waiting for the right moment, the right 'vibration' to start recording instead ? When I was asked to return to Nassau to finish overdubbing, it didn't take long for me to pack and be right there, where the right things were cooking.
Once back there, I did not stop shuttling between studio A & B, carving Prophet 5 synthesizer tracks to almost everything that was recorded at Compass Point that year, and the following years, to the point where I finally got nicknamed "Prophet". Spending much time over there, year after year, to the point of virtually residing there, I found myself contributing, sometimes with no or very little planning ahead, to quite a range of legendary albums of the 80's.
And again, one thing leading to another, word started to spread outside of Nassau and reach the US, setting me on Foreigner's, PowerStation's and Robert Palmer's paths.
But Chris and I shared much larger plans for my future. He helped me have a kick into film composing, starting with in-house productions like 'Countryman' in 1981. He offered me as a lease one of the flats at top of the Tip-Top condominium attached to Compass Point Studios, so I could install Studio 'W', a 'home-studio' before the name was invented
And all the while, I did not stop living a totally separated life in the UK and the rest of Europe, helping Mark King, Mike Lindup, Boon & Phil Gould write the Level 42 story.
After five years of living together, Genevieve and I got married on August 2nd, 1984, in Montalba-Le-Château, French Pyrenees. We had our first son, David-Alexandre, three years later.
Being based in Nassau, and yet spending much time in the UK with Level 42, did not prevent me from keeping ties with the 'chanson française', mainly working with Alain Chamfort (starting with his 'Amour Année Zéro' album, with Serge Gainsbourg as lyricist).
The 80's are often portrayed as years of 'flash & superficial'. They certainly were not for me. Sure they did not wear the kind of distinct colour that the post-WWII or the Vietnam war gave to the 50's up to the 70's. Sure no one landed on yet another planet during that decade.
But for us musicians, those were the years of the computer revolution, with consequences still unforseable today. Think of it: instant communication (from the fax-machine to the email), user-friendly micro-computing, MIDI, sampling, hard-disk recording, the Compact Disk, all those visionary milestones were planted during the 80's; and I don't know that anything as groundbreaking was brought ever since (other than building on those revolutionary bases, from sky-rocket multiplying CPU power and mass storage volumes, to putting the Internet in general public's hands, and delivering the DVD and MP3 formats).
I could not have pursued the genuine 'recording artist' career I raved about without these instances of technology upheaval. And things would never be the same for the rest of the commmunity as well as the music listeners throughout the world. Good and bad.
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