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music

Dominique A.

IN 1992, THE INDIE French label Lithium launched its third record, the debut album by a young singer from Nantes named Dominique A., to a sudden, unexpected succès fou. La Fossette (The dimple), a low-fi, tremulous, and disquieting homemade CD, was filled with melancholic little tunes tapped out on a Yamaha keyboard and a Caslo VL Tone, accompanied by the occasional electric-guitar riff. The album’s relation to the French tradition of singer-songwriters was like that of turpentine to varnish: Dominique A.’s peculiar combination of sentimentality and acidity is reminiscent of Beck’s flaunting of American rock with his quirky compendium of blues, folk, and punk and P. J. Harvey’s irascible, dry reworking of blues and Irish folk music. But perhaps his most direct influence is the country-folk pastiche of Palace’s Will Oldham, whose voice Dominique A. has described as a “vocal organ without

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