Charlotte&Magon are an international duo based in Paris and comprised of Charlotte Cegarra from Paris, France and Magon from Tel-Aviv, Israel.
The duo was formed spontaneously, both musically and romantically, in march 2008, when Charlotte accepted the invitation of Magon, her myspace musical friend she had never met before, to come to Tel-Aviv and work on some music.
The result of this unlikely rendez-vous would be ‘Love Happening’: a sincere autobiographical concept album, written almost entirely in those days of acquaintance that managed to document, both naively and self-aware of its innocence, the beauty of the very first stages of infatuation.
Released in January 2009, Love Happening was crafted with a tight multi-layered production melting trippy offbeat rhythm sections, dreamy pop melodies and a psychedelic touch. The unique bold and child-like honesty of Love Happening, together with some French-English duets featuring a charmful contrast between Magon's deep masculine spoken-word and Charlotte's emotional vocals left no doubt: this truly was an original piece.
In September 2009, Magon moved to Paris, which led the duo to a new challenge: dealing with life after Love Happening, literally, and their intrinsic passion to mature and advance their music.
Yet confronting a harsh Parisian winter, whilst working in various odd jobs in order to get by as artists, took its toll on the two and deeply affected them. They set out to project these sentiments through music and compose their second project, Life Factory: an epic attempt to portray a working man's quest for hope and truth in tough times.
The album's concept is admittedly influenced by Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times and Emile Zola's classic opus, Germinal. The songs, each as a distinct chapter of a rock novel, explore themes such as existential confusion, soldiers' shellshock and the feeling of helplessness and alienation in a cold technocratic world.
Musically, Life Factory is much darker and more elaborate than their early material. It takes after the spirit of 70's psychadelia, with trippy jam-session segments, over-toned guitar solos and vintage synthesizers.
Nonetheless, make no mistake, Life Factory is a definitive contemporary album. Not only due to the clever production, which was able to naturally bring all the best out of the energetic live-studio performances of the band, but also thanks to the poppy melodies and structures of the songs. Charlotte's inspired vocals also seem to feather the hardness of the dark harmonies and to somehow provide a sense of optimism in the desperate world depicted.
Charlotte and Magon’s move from the intimate to the universal can also be felt on stage. With the earlier performances, much of the emphasis was put on the spontaneous dialogues and natural chemistry between the two. Whereas the Life Factory concerts are much more complete and intense in nature, and leave much room for the band to dive into the realm shaped by Charlotte’s body movements and phantasmatic attitude.
Upon finishing the mastering of Life Factory, the two started visually enriching the concepts of the album with their other big passion – filmmaking.
Working with New-York based director David Lombroso, they self-produced two videos featuring two locations seemingly as distinct as possible: Modern Times was shot in the La Defence business district in Paris and Dice was shot in the vacant and oneiric judean desert in Israel. But this visual disparity between civilization and primitiveness is by no means a dissonance, it merely captures the universality of Life Factory. In both Dice and Modern Times, Charlotte and Magon are struggling to find a sign of authenticity and hope while facing big worlds that seem to leave no chance for the individual.
The bleakest point of the album is revealed in Black Horses, which is also the latest video released by C&M. Directed by Rémi Geoffroy, and beautifully shot in a deep forest in the Larzac of southern France, it reverberates the near-breaking-point theme of the song with a troubling enactment of desperation and feeling of impending doom. Charlotte and Magon play an isolated couple that lives in the forest and who is driven by paranoia and despair to confront their demons and themselves. The black & white “film-noir” style video leaves many open questions but also, somehow, a shred of hope.
Life Factory will be released on the 6th of February 2013 on vinyl with an urban scenery painting by American painter Bascove as its cover.