Les Tontons Flingueu

A 6 track film soundtracks album (3m ) — released April 26th 2024 on Le Pop Club Records

The music from LES TONTONS FLINGUEURS (aka Crooks in Clover aka Monsieur Gangster) is as instantaneously recognizable as the James Bond theme thanks to a short and recurring melodic motif that can still stick in the heads of 21th century kids. Monothematism is a word used by musicologists to refer to the use of stylistic variations based on a single musical theme as can be heard in the Tontons : on the banjo, during the nose punch sequences, played jazz, blues, gloria or Hully Gally style. Though the Tontons music may on first listen sound nothing different than a straightforward yet catchy soundtrack, it turns out to be a real exercise in style. When reading Michel Magne's autobiography " L'amour de vivre " it clearly appears that mixing folk music and sound experiments was a mindful artistic choice. In the movie, Antoine Delafoy (Claude Rich) who is engaged to Patricia (the Mexican's daughter) is merely a Michel Magne caricature. He embodies a contemporary music composer in search of the " absolute anti-chord " by using a water tap. " We don't really know what it is but it's amusing ". In reality and despite his classical musical education, Michel Magne has indeed had a venture into avant-garde music, going as far as organizing an infrasounds concert at the Salle Gaveau venue (Paris) on July 15th, 1954. Infrasonic frequencies which quickly made the audience run for the toilets. On December 3rd,² 1956 his low-frequency sounds contributed to an " empirique " show at the Théâtre des Trois Baudets (Paris) with Alexandro Jodorowsky, Jean Michel Rankovitch and Tinguely. At the same time he wrote music on words by Françoise Sagan for Mouloudji. Again with this desire to cross the boundaries of musical genres. He recorded in 1959 an album of " musiques tachistes " from which a show with dances was staged by Michel Descombey. His taste for provocation and avant-garde did not prevent Michel Magne from composing and arranging popular music. He hence wrote the music for six Georges Lautner movies including the famous Tontons Flingueurs in 1963.Being part of the avant-garde long-haired world what could Michel Magne think of Michel Audiard ? A most kind character who had nevertheless been burned by supporters of the " nouvelle vague " including journalist Henry Chapier who described Les Tontons Flingueurs as being " chansonnier " cinema (in Combat 1963), meant for disenchanted quinquagenarians. Audiard had responded to Truffaut, another of his dispisers : " Dad's movies filled theaters, son's movies empty them. We should have been warned : with its seaside sounding name the Nouvelle Vague (new wave) drove millions of viewers out on the countryside ". In between melodic effectiveness and daring arrangements and tonality, Michel Magne's work is worth being listened to with fresh ears, cleared of clichés !

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