PERFUMER OF THE GREAT SPACESpublished on 2023-01-02
20 years ago, we perfumed the concert of Alain Bashung at the Bataclan of the “Tournée des Grands Espaces”
THE SMALL BUSINESS
The meeting with Alain Bashung is a story of “bikers”, a story of rock.
The singer’s management and his safety were supervised by Doudou La Joncaille and his Parisian biker friends.
One of the latter was a very dear friend of the aroma sculptors of Asquali: Jacqui Ledresseur and Michael Moisseeff.
At that time, in 2003, I was their disciple, I was learning to perfume concerts.
They propelled me on a sensational journey into the world of scents.
Regarding the technical aspects, four scent diffusion systems had been installed in the Bataclan hall before the day of the concert:
- Two systems on the facade, camouflaged at the level of the speakers on either side of the stage, one on the garden side, the other on the courtyard side.
- At the level of the balcony, two strapped systems for a type diffusion in the shower like a projector.
During the evening, we were 2 technicians:
- One, hidden behind the sound system (Bashung was on my right) and could control both ventilations on a single point.
- The second at balcony level to ensure olfactory synchronization and the safety of the public close to the machines in the room.
Concerning the olfactory score out of the thirty pieces played during the show, only two songs had their scents.
The first olfactory composition revolved around the essential oils of olibanum and myrrh to give a spiritual dimension to the “Songs of Songs”, real love songs.
These poems alternated between a woman and a man were sung in duet with Chloé Mons, the companion of Alain Bashung, both on this steep stage.
Then, the atmosphere became less religious.
Always so transcendent, his voice weightless, Alain Bashung finds himself alone on stage and performs “Madame Rêve”.
Its scent of narcotic white flowers appears.
The emotion of this fragrant concert rediscovered twenty years later.
Both speakers at the symposium “Creation research in olfaction (acte1): practices and changing professions” which took place in Toulouse in 2022, Olivier Pierre David and I had never met physically before to discuss this common experience.
That evening, Olivier was present in the audience; as for me, I was in the olfactory department.
Concealed, I remember the surprising reaction of the public whose nostrils were first filled with incense.
During our exchange at the symposium, the hairs on Olivier Pierre’s arms stood on end from this intense fragrant and musical memory; for me, a tear of happiness.
Olivier’s words sum up our connection: “Emotional reunion almost 20 years later to evoke this memory engraved in our polysensory memories”
“Osez Joséphine” is the title of Alain Bashung’s eighth studio album as well as that of one of the singles that compose it with “Volutes” and “Madame Rêve”.
My mother’s name is Josephine.
At the end of the performance, I urge one of the “bikers” in charge of the singer’s security to meet him.
In his dressing room, his family, his friends, Pascal Nègre, at the time director of Universal Music France, were also present.
I approach Alain, sweating and on a program in postcard format, he dedicates, accompanied by his signature, “to Joséphine”.
This anecdote would have been only the witness of my determination if it had stopped there.
Upon returning to my hotel room, I realize that I no longer have the autograph.
I therefore resign myself to admitting that it was a waste of time.
The next morning, we go with Michel, the other technician, to carry out the dismantling and unhooking of the odor machines.
In the rain, trampled (there are still traces of shoes), I find the dedication of Alain Bashung who had spent the night in front of the Bataclan entrance.
In our collective consciousness, the Bataclan sends us back terribly to the terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015.
Thanks to this concert, I was able to perfume this space with the scent of incense.
For the perfumer, incense is a deeply human volatile material.
It is a peaceful connection with beings.
More than incensing religions, more than scenting places of worship, we prefer, as for the Bataclan, to scent places of culture.
Our thoughts to the victims, like wisps of smoke.