It’s the mid 1980’s and France is undergoing a seismic shift in music – they are paying attention to what is going on in their own country rather than England, the U.S. or rest of Europe. A music trend known as la vague froid in France, also known as “cold wave” internationally is taking hold of the New Wave scene.
Thierry Mueller, a graphic designer and Krautrock fan decides to put his experimental group Ilitch, on hold to create a dance music. His concept? Ruth. A shining example of the genre, with crisp, icy synthesizers, disaffected vocals and brilliant dance rhythms.
The “band” consisted of three members according to the release, Thierry, Phillippe Doray and Ruth Ellyeri. In an interview for the 25th anniversary re-release, and a renewed interested in the song Polaroid/Roman/Photo that had been shared amongst collectors for years, Mueller stated that the only person besides himself that really got on board with the concept of Ruth aside from himself was Frédérique Lapierre, who helped write some of the lyrics. Whenever he needed an instrument that he didn’t play, he relied on friends and friends of friends to help. As for Ruth? She never existed. If you rearrange the letters in Thierry Mueller, you will discover that Ruth Ellyeri is an anagram. His own muse, as he states, part of his schizophrenic personality.
The album Polaroid/Roman/Photo was released in 1985 and was not successful. Apparently only 50 copies of the original album sold. By the early 2000’s there was a renewed interest in the song and has been featured on a handful of compilations dedicated to Cold Wave.
There is a fascinating interview on Minimal Wave‘s site with Mueller, check it out.
Strawberry Tongue Radio has been featuring the song Polaroid/Roman/Photo since 2008. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
You can pick up this album on Polaroïd/Roman/Photo – Ruth on iTunes.