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Iggy Pop to release jazz album steeped in French literature


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An unlikely cocktail of Michel Houellebecq and Jelly Roll Morton is the inspiration for Stooges legend's new francophile album, Préliminaires

[smaller]Sean Michaels | guardian.co.uk | Tuesday 3 March 2009 | Link [/smaller]

In what is happily one of the best headlines of the year, Iggy Pop is to release a Jelly Roll Morton-influenced jazz album inspired by French novelist Michel Houellebecq.

The Stooges' leader made the announcement in a video originally posted on his official website, holding court at the side of a swimming pool. "I just got sick of listening to idiot thugs with guitars, banging out crappy music," Iggy said, "and I was starting to listen to a lot of New Orleans-era Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton type of jazz."

The album is called Préliminaires and was directly inspired by Michel Houellebecq's 2005 novel, The Possibility of an Island. Iggy was originally contacted to provide music for Last Words, a Dutch documentary about the novelist's efforts to adapt the book for film. Directed by Erik Lieshout, Arno Hagers and Reinier van Brummelen, Last Words played at several festivals and a DVD will be released on 17 March, according to reports.

Unlike the Guardian, Iggy is apparently a fan of Houellebecq's book – the story of a stand-up comedian, a Raelian-style cult and the comedian's cloned descendants. But while this work of misanthropic sci-fi might suggest creepy space synths or sinewy post-punk, Iggy has instead opted for a "quieter album with some jazz overtones".

"I've always loved quieter ballads," he said in his video, emphasising in a later MySpace bulletin that this is "NOT a rock album". According to a fan site, Préliminaires is "very Sinatra-like (low voice and all)". And on one song, Les Feuilles Mortes, Iggy Pop even sings in French.

"I've made it really especially for France and people who speak French," Iggy Pop said.

Préliminaires will be released in April or May by EMI France.

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