In Rotation: Charlotte Gainsbourg's 'Stage Whisper'
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Charlotte Gainsbourg has appeared in more than 40 films, including her recent turn as Kirsten Dunst’s beleaguered sister in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia,” but that experience still doesn’t prevent her from getting major stage jitters in concert, as she’s admitted in many interviews. On the double CD, “Stage Whisper,” released last month, Jane Birken and Serge Gainsbourg’s rendezvous child only sounds occasionally nervous but lucky for her, that twitchy quality only reinforces the captivating edge in these songs, half of which were performed live on her European tour in 2010.
On “AF607105,” a Jarvis Cocker-penned song from her 2006 album, “5:55,” Gainsbourg breathily rifles through the disorienting, lonely stimulus of air travel. Her cover of “Just Like a Woman” sounds soothingly empathetic, whereas Bob Dylan’s original can sound like a condemnation. “Stage Whisper” also includes eight unreleased studio recordings, many from her sessions with Beck, her producer-collaborator on 2010’s “IRM.” An existential outing informed by her brain hemorrhage after a water-skiing accident, “IRM” is Gainsbourg’s finest sojourn to date, and the unreleased tracks only further illuminate its spooked and stylish path.
— Margaret Wappler