While the dashing French first couple — President Nicolas Sarkozy and his model/singer wife Carla Bruni — were referred to as the hottest Gallic import in New York City last week, several thousand music fans in Central Park would beg to differ. Phoenix, the Versailles-based band whose album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is one of 2009’s breakout hits, sold out two shows in the park’s Rumsey Playfield — and now they’re giving something back to their growing legions of loyal fanatiques.
Just posted on the band’s website are two remixes of tracks from Wolfgang: “Love Like a Sunset” reworked by experimental outfit Animal Collective, and “Rome” as re-imagined by freak folker Devendra Banhart. Both are available for download below.
The Animal Collective mix veers sharply from the original’s slow-burning groove, diving straight into the tribal, digitally-generated drum sounds that permeate AC’s stellar Merriweather Post Pavilion.
“Phoenix has been a staple for all four of us since Dave [“Avey Tare” Portner] and Noah [“Panda Bear” Lennox] brought home [Phoenix’s debut album] United from the record store they used to work at,” Animal Collective’s Josh “Deakin” Dibb writes on Phoenix’s website. “One of the records that would get us through some of those long cross country tour drives, we’ve listened to Phoenix’s jams many, many times.”
Meanwhile, Banhart’s take on “Rome” is far more conventional, simply a more subdued, somber rehashing of the original album track. Says Devendra: “With awesome, oceanic glee, we took ‘Rome’ for a ride, a mellow, meditative one. Let’s bring out the candle-lit side, a side of the song suited for lucubration.”
In other Phoenix news, the entire band will be scoring the next Sofia Coppola movie, Somewhere, which stars Stephen Dorff, Benicio Del Toro, and Elle Fanning, and is set for release in 2010. Coppola, of course, is the partner and baby-momma to Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars. It’s also not the first time Coppola has turned to a French band from Versailles for a film soundtrack: Air crafted the haunting sonic accompaniment to her 1999 film, The Virgin Suicides.