Petite Noir is the project of Capetown producer Yannick Iluga, who kicked off the year by releasing his debut EP The King Of Anxiety. Though plenty of people will certainly relate to that title, his self-dubbed noirwave seeks a balance between anxiousness and gratitude. If anything reveals that, it’s the title for his just-announced full-length album, La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful. His debut record will be the flipside to that EP in a lot of ways, but it stays consistent in its attempt to offer a new African aesthetic. In his own words, Iluga says, “I think for me it’s just the story their music tells and the sense of freedom. It’s about seeing the positive in dark times.”
The lead single for his new album is called “Best,” and it comes today along with a sumptuous, shifting video that further challenges assumptions about the African continent and people who live there. It was directed by Trayvon Owens with art direction by Rochelle Nembhard, who both spoke on their vision for the clip.
We wanted to make 4 distinct ‘tribes’ of people. This allowed us to create the visual journey that Yannick is on, running through all of these different landscapes, and allowed us to create these rich scenes which were very different from each other. The four main elements in the video are Fire, Malachite (earth/rock), Water and Gold. The video is about Yannick’s journey through all of these landscapes meeting all of these different tribes.
And from Nembhard:
I wanted to break all boundaries in how we portrayed the continent and her people. The video showcases the beauty of the continent, the richness in her landscapes, the sacredness of her culture, the immense diversity of her tribes and the natural inherent beauty and style of her people.
Watch the clip below and check out the full album tracklist.
Here’s the La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful tracklist:
01 “Intro Noirwave”
04 “Seventeen (Stay)”
05 “Just Breathe”
06 “La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful”
La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful is out 9/11 via Domino Records.