"One-note" usually refers to something monotonous or lacking in scope and variety. But it doesn't apply to "One Note Prelude," a short piece of music created by Israeli jazz composer Yaron Herman for Louis XIII cognac.
G-sharp is the titular note, and it's created, we're told, when toasting with Louis XIII glasses (in this case, cradling some branded French brandy). That clink! is a G-sharp. Who knew?
Creative shop FF Los Angeles commissioned Herman to compose a song using that note alone, "as a metaphor for the complexity of one single drop of Louis XIII Cognac," says FF creative director Nicolas Berthier.
After all, each of those drops represents "a mix of up to 1,200 spirits, and some of them are more than a 100 years old," he says. The composition fuses simplicity and complexity, producing a vital, multifaceted outcome that exceeds the sum of its parts.
The song below, which lasts slightly less than two minutes, begins with a pair of toasting robotic arms. They produce a crisp G-sharp that literally sets the tone. Herman joins on piano, followed by a string quartet. Playing that single note in different octaves, they weave a harmonic collage that builds to a crescendo in which …
… those high-tech claws return for a closing clink!, of course. The video will be shared across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
In the next clip, Herman discusses his approach to the project:
So, he strove to capture the warm, inviting spirit of a toast, allowing that G-Sharp to "evolve over time and reveal itself" in various forms and textures.
Though far from a first of its kind—one-note experiments have been tried in various contexts before, most recently by progressive musician Alan Parsons—we'll raise a glass to Herman's uplifting results for Louis XIII. Anchored by the cello's bass line, that track goes down smooooth.
And we can listen to it right now, unlike the last time this client-agency duo made music together. Two years ago, they tapped Pharrell Williams to create a track that won't be played until 2117, in a stunt illustrating the long-term impact of climate change. (Did he use more than one note? Even if global warming subsides, we'll be long dead by then, so we'll never know.)
In 2015, FF—the agency formerly known as Fred & Farid—and Louis XIII received considerable buzz for producing 100 Years, a feature film from director Robert Rodriguez starring John Malkovich—that won't premiere until 2115, matching the century each bottle of cognac ages before Louis XIII deems it fit for sale.
"One Note Prelude" plays into a couple of hot marketing trends. The first is an increasingly innovative use of music by brands. Examples range from Smucker's playful jingle revises for Meow Mix and Folgers, to Lincoln's ambient album of sleep tunes, and initiatives from Bacardi and Singapore Airlines that incorporate sounds from bars and cockpits, respectively, into dance tracks.
"The use of robotic arms is a tribute to the future, but it is also a way to repeat the perfect gesture, angle and speed, for the perfect toast and the corresponding G-sharp note," says Berthier.
Those metallic maestros, stars of the short clip below, will be displayed next year at Louis XIII boutiques in Asia and elsewhere.
"The combination of music, technology and craft are meant to inspire our high-end customers with a unique experience," Berthier says. "It is a slow-pace activation in a noisy social media world."
Creative Agency: FF Los Angeles
Chief Creative Officers: Fred & Farid
Creative Director: Nicolas Berthier
Business Director: Peter Jacobs
Senior Producer: Gabriela Merrihue
Production Company: NoSide
Director: Arnaud Gransagne
Producers: Remi Sello and Morgan Prêleur
Editor: Bissan Kim
Composer/pianist: Yaron Herman
Robot Styling: Arnaud Lapierre Design Studio