A thrilling collaboration between the acclaimed Belgian composer/instrumentalist Catherine Graindorge and the ever-iconic Iggy Pop. Haunting string and electronic textures melding with Iggy’s baritone, cautionary tales.
A deep dive into the heart of these unsettled times.
“Iggy said to send him a track. I began to improvise, and came up with three pieces at home. We communicated and started to exchange ideas.” – Catherine Graindorge
“My contribution is to report, through words, the current threat and the longing for happiness and peace.” – Iggy Pop
It all began with the radio. A pair of songs that triggered a collaboration between Belgian violinist and composer Catherine Graindorge and the iconic Iggy Pop. Together, they’ve forged a meeting of minds and spirits that’s resulted in the The Dictator. An EP that combines their talents: her music, his voice.
“He played two tracks of mine on his BBC 6 Music show last November,” Graindorge explains, “so I sent an email addressed to Iggy to the producer of the show, saying that I was very honored and that I’d be delighted to work on a track with him. It was completely spontaneous; I never thought anything would really happen.”
But it did. To her disbelief and absolute delight, a reply came two days later: Catherine, I would love to make a track, Iggy.
Graindorge is no stranger to working with others. During her career, in addition to solo work and being part of the band Nile on WaX, she’s worked with artists like Nick Cave, Hugo Race and esteemed producer/musician John Parish. Still, she expected nothing more than to add her violin to a song of his. Instead, she recalls, “Iggy said to send him a track. I began to improvise, and came up with three pieces at home. We communicated and began to exchange ideas.”
Her wish turned into a fever dream of creativity.
“Over Christmas I recorded another track that was more rock. That grabbed him. Then he wrote the lyrics for ‘The Dictator’ two months before Russia invaded Ukraine.”
His inspiration came from her sounds and musical structures, and the world he sees around us.
“There is a gothic masonry at work here, with a very old force abetted by very cunning structures,” Iggy observes about Catherine’s music. “My contribution is to report, through words, the current threat, and the longing for happiness and peace.”
Catherine wrote the lyrics for “Mud I,” while, as an answer, “Mud II” captures Iggy’s lyrical vision of a world increasingly mired in mud, his weary, totemic voice close to exhaustion as it struggles to find some salvation.
The EP closes with the disquieting menace of the song named “Iggy.” It’s the only one without the voice of the singer to whom Catherine dedicates the piece.
From unlikely beginnings, The Dictator blazes, two musicians inspiring each other. Graindorge’s admiration for Iggy – who was recently awarded this year’s prestigious Polaris Prize – has grown as they’ve worked together.
“He represents freedom,” she says. “There is something wild and fearless about him that is very inspiring.”
That respect is completely mutual. Graindorge’s music evokes “chalices, bodices, and old stones. It’s European romance and it creeps up on me like a fog; like winter in Venice, like a midnight wind,” Pop says, She’s an artist “as one with her continent and its canon.”
Never underestimate the power of radio.