It was all there, very early on. “Music-cinema, cinema-music”, raw energy, images that click, the taste of the beat and the singing that spurts out. It was all there very early on in P.R2B.
The sound, first of all: Pauline Rambeau de Baralon (“Rambo” for her friends) grew up in Bourges between clarinet lessons, the blues of a guitarist father, classical music (which she loves “especially when she is muscular”) and French chanson, whose whimsical images fascinate her as much as the irreverence of Eminem, TuPac or Dr Dre.
The images, then. It is to them that Pauline turns. As a teenager, she devours the classics at the film library, remains marked for life by Truffaut, Godard, Dreyer’s Joan of Arc or Easy Rider, for their formal virtuosity combined with an unleashing of the senses and emotions, and dreams of Cameron’s Ellen Ripley conquering space.
After high school with a major in cinema and a stint at Cours Florent, she spent four years at Femis, from which she graduated with a director’s diploma.
Music is never far away: P.R2B sings in a garage duet, summoned the soul of the mythical jazzman Moondog in one of his short films, and above all, composes, incessantly, alone in her home studio. For a long time, his songs remain hidden. Until a haunting single, Ocean Forever, with its synths undulating like the sea in winter, appeared in 2017 on a compilation by La Souterraine, the hub of the French-speaking underground. This track and its video make the news, P.R2B is quickly spotted and surrounded, and concerts propel his unique talent: those
who were lucky enough to see her at Les Etoiles, in Paris, or at Bar en Trans, at the end of 2018, still remember her presence, intense, the extent of her influences (from Léo Ferré to Casual Gabberz) and her way of marrying poetry and BPM as if it was obvious. The experience of the stage, “this place where it burns” pushes P.R2B to definitively put his songs in the spotlight. It remains to flesh out the lo-fi setting that saw them born, without losing their vitality.
It is Tristan Salvati (Angèle, 47 ter) who, after having contacted her on Instagram, is in charge of helping her to give them the “warm heart” she is so much looking for. Together, they find it by working on contrasts: a frenetic gabber beat splashes the melody of La Piscine, an immediate hit into which one plunges while dancing. A hedonistic groove grabs the punchy lyrics of Des Rêves by the hips, where “the streets of Hollywood split in two / the stars at the elbow а elbow and the poor in the middle.” Oboes, clarinets and other winds, essential and almost ubiquitous, “dress up the romanticism of The Prom Song, the first title to come out in January 2020, with a dress of spleen,” or the velvet flow rocket of Who are the culprits?.
Then there are those couples dancing, splitting up on a station platform, surfers, shipwrecks, chaos and fights: when Pauline doesn’t film images, she puts them in her texts, and you can perceive the atmosphere, the shadows and lights, as well as in the cinema. The impact of her words owes as much to Barbara as to Kanye West, to Tyler the Creator as to Catherine Ringer: from this contrast is born all their modernity.
As for his lyricism, he is not bothered by irony: “I can only tell who I am by crying, laughing and shaking. We live in a time when people are angry, you can’t take it away from them. There is an idea of radicalism, of struggle. Sincerity, to go into a state of explosion, is not obsolete. Agreeing to say I is agreeing to say we. “It’s that rage mixed with hope that permeates the songs of P.R2B. It will also be reflected in her music videos, which she will direct herself. “Music-cinema, cinema-music”, P.R2B doesn’t have to choose anymore.
“I arm myself”, she says in La Piscine… It’s all there, from now on. Ready to be heard, shared, and ignited.