Daphne Guinness releases her third album, ‘Revelations’ today (Friday, August 14, 2020) via Agent Anonyme/Absolute. Daphne recorded the album at Les Studios Saint Germain, Paris – working once again with producer Tony Visconti. Guinness’ creative partnership with Visconti was forged via an introduction from his long-standing collaborator, David Bowie. “Bowie was a huge influence on me” says Guinness; “He mentored and encouraged me to pursue music. It was him that introduced me to Tony”
The single release ‘Deviant Disco’ is featured in a new art-film project that was nominated for ‘Best Concept’ at this year’s Berlin Music Video Awards and was created by Daphne’s long term collaborator photographer David LaChapelle.
The album explores a French-flavoured disco sound and captures the nonchalant grooves of mid 70’s Gainsbourg, sprinkled with the dance floor decadence of Studio 54. The single & title track ‘Revelations’ is couched in Visconti’s lush orchestrations. Daphne cites both Gainsbourg’s ‘L’Histoire de Melody Nelson’ & J.S. Bach as inspirations.
Daphne has partnered once more with her musical director, Malcolm Doherty. The pair met whilst touring with Visconti’s Bowie tribute outfit, Holy Holy. For ‘Revelations’ Daphne has brought together a band featuring Doherty and Terry Miles (Go-Kart Mozart), alongside Roger Manning Jr (Air, Beck) and Rod Melvin (Brian Eno).
Though you’ve probably heard the name before, Guinness somehow resists definition. There are the close friendships with Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow, the various collaborations with artists & designers. A young Daphne trained professionally as a Lieder singer, gaining a place to study at the Guildhall School of music before life for her took a left turn towards marriage and raising her children. “I began in music”, she reveals, “and now I’ve ended up there.”
Lyrically, ‘Revelations’ is drawn together by Daphne’s eye for sometime niche source material, fed by a voracious reading habit which informs lyrics previously inspired by everything from Shelley and Baudrillard to 1920’s reference tome, Fowler’s Modern Usage. The lyrics of ‘Looking Glass’ - with Visconti’s velvet strings rubbing up against post-punk guitars - probe the distorted filter of lives led-out predominantly online; as Daphne puts it
“A futuristic Alice In Wonderland scenario. Caught in a world which is like a twisted hall of mirrors - smartphones, tablets, laptops.” The upwards gaze of ‘Tune Into Neptune’ taps a fixation with The idea that humankind is influenced by the magnetic resonance of distant planets. I’m fascinated by Neptune - it’s peculiar in many ways, particularly as it was discovered by mathematical prediction as opposed to direct observation”.
The irreverent ‘Deviant Disco’ summons up a decadent, imaginary nightspot “populated by a combination of characters from Leonora Carrington & Aubrey Beardsley illustrations”, whilst across the Morricone-referencing ‘Refugee D’Esprit’ (with Visconti gamely guesting here to play the ocarina), Guinness dips in & out of lyrics spanning French and English with ease.