Franklin, “Cold Dreamer”

Our recent installments of throwing around various philosophical theories with Frank Rabeyrolles (aka Double U) began with our debut of "Washing" from his audio vehicle Franklin that he shares with Nicolas Lockhart as his co-pilot. Continuing the conversation, Frank returns with the premiere of the Fabien Dendiével video for the title track of both the recent EP and forthcoming Cold Dreamer album for Plug Research. So open up the sedan side door, step into the passenger seat, buckle up, and enjoy a night cruise simulation.

The video begins with a mystery person stepping into the driver's seat, turning on the ignition, engaging the headlights, and beginning a journey deep into the evening's void of unknown darkness. The synths swim in the mix of "Cold Dreamer" in tones that burn a yellow-utility glow like the various lights from street posts and freeway illumination poles. The traveling drone of vocals and internal combustion beats are the motor that propels the all-night ride until the morning dawn—all in less than three minutes.

On the following stream of the Cold Dreamer EP, the title track keeps the trans-Europe express party trucking on an all-nighter. The rest stop moment to refresh is the renewal of "Slow Fish" that enjoys the moment before returning to the fields of rhythm. "Game Over" plays off the gamer instincts and attitudes as a restrained chorus of rumbling electronics provide a thinking-man's rave, advanced from the arcadia level. The I&Fused remix of "Cold Dreamer" rumbles through your computer speakers like old 90s first person shooters where the bass MIDI notes thump out all the anticipation behind every corner, equipped with the faint and sparse sample's of Frank's voice.

Frank Rabeyrolles of Franklin joined up with us to pick up on where are previous conversations left off.

The Fabien Dendiével is a real experiential trip, where you are actually taken on this car ride through tunnels, two-lane highways, where often the illumination is from the moon, or artificial utility light source. How did the two of you collaborate to make a video that actually transports the listener/viewer deeper into the night driving video of, "Cold Dream"?

I think we wanted something minimalistic for real. We put the camera inside the car I was driving in the night and there's something poetic may be because it's not artificial… We didn't recreate anything, images and music seemed to match naturally.It's sometimes warm, dark. Night drives can be a psychic trip and we wanted to pick these natural emotions of the city without any emphase. The car is not a future or retro car it's everybody's car, you never see the mysterious driver except at the end… all is about light, drive and music.The song is also very texturized and Fabien Dendiével played with these contrasts between shadows,artificial light and darkness.The video is quite close to the DNA of Franklin music and obsessions.

Why do you feel that these moody-electronically-minded tracks always mix well with late night car ride videos?

Probably because late night creates a real room for various and contrasted emotions, like fears, solitude, melancholy or excitation. You probably listen to the music differently late at night. It's less rational. There's something deep in the night that creates a special atmosphere and it works with electronic architectures. Urbanity is something linked with the energy of beats or pads.

What are you favorite 'car' centered movies or television shows ever?

I personally love this Wim Wenders movie Alice dans les villes and Au fil du temps, Two-Lane Black Top from Monte Hellman. Christine from John Carpenter too. In one sense Pierrot le Fou by Godard is also a kind of Road movie. Duel the Spielberg movie is more about trucks but is one of my favorite movies too.

Is it possibly that this whole idea that motorik music has taken so much from the old autobahns, from like back in the day when there would be no speed limits in different parts, where European music of the past fifty or so years has seemed to have taken influence between the auto- manufacturing industries and music evolutions. Then again, you could argue that it was the old early car models in the US that made rock and roll too by that logic.

Right it's true also with the genesis of Techno music in Detroit…cars, roads, crystallize a lot of fantasmatic[sic] things and the ambiguous relationship we have with technology. The philosophic idea of mechanism, repetition, automatism invade all different arts not only music.

You have talked to us recently about staying 'apart from Manichaeism' and with the album Cold Dreamer being "far apart" from the new waves bands you used to listen to. Could you give us any further insights into how you have found new ways to experiment with the beats and synths?

I love music that plays with codes in general. Real dance music or real rock are not my cup of tea. Robert Wyatt's music has been a model for me. He plays with jazz, pop music codes always trying to create something really special. I don't like dogmatism and also ego-tripped artists who believe they create something unique. At our level with Franklin we keep loving and believing in the idea of 'song writing' that's probably our 'pop' side but on the other hand we love to build new textures, soundscapes and go beyond. We keep using analog synths and sometimes these old crazy drum machines but we're not purists at all. This is may be part of the problem though!

Personally I go for Soft Rock bands to Autechre experimental moods: they are part of my background. I talked about new wave bands because I heard people recently telling us we had been influenced by this scene. Today is quite hard to say what influenced me or not. There are so many exciting things…

The Franklin Cold Dreamer LP will be available June 17 from Plug Research.