Jean-Marc Lederman’s career in music has covered a lot of ground: from playing with Fad Gadget and The The to sound design for video games; from reinventing alternative dance music with The Weathermen to classy poptronica in Mari & The Ghost. The Brussels-based musician and composer has been part of the European music scene for more than three decades.
His latest project is a concept album that reaches beyond the edges of your virtual turntable. The music in The Last Broadcast on Earth crosses genres and decades, but it is only one part of a multimedia package. The album is accompanied by an computer game (also available as an app for Apple and Android) that brings together Lederman’s interests in sound design, gaming and pop music. The umbrella of The Jean-Marc Lederman Experience draws under it contributions from chanteuse Anna Domino, Jay Aston from Gene Loves Jezebel, Matt Johnson of The The, Tom Shear from 23 Assemblage, The Weathermen, Mari & The Ghost, Jacques Duvall and a host of other artists.
If you tune your dial to 99.5 FM, then in most American towns you will receive the signal of a station that plays “only the HITS!” with the last word always in capital letters. At the end of the world, the last broadcast is not a collection of Top 40 favourites but an eclectic mix of original songs and covers that reflect the styles of times past. Civilisation ends, not with a bang (or, as The Weathermen would put it, a “BANG!“), but with alt-ballads and well-paced poptronica, interrupted only by listener calls, in a Steampunk blend. To let Lederman set the scene:
A deserted country road at night. You’ve been driving for hours, headlamps on full beam flash-illuminating ghosts of sleeping trees. The radio plays desperate love songs, songs of hope, songs of despair, lost time and moments where you regret not reaching out to touch another. These songs are gifts wrapped in shiny sonic paper that you tear open with just your mind and your heart. The radio station wants you to cherish them, as you wind through the empty starlit landscape, wondering if this really could be the last night on Earth.
The Last Broadcast on Earth is not a hardline manifesto from The Weathermen but an organic, flowing set of songs that come together as a whole. The links that connect them include out-takes from a genre-crossing collection of films, spanning the distance between Aladdin and The Big Lebowski. The album is best listened to as a complete piece, as the grooves are etched with elegance.