THOMAS ROUSSEL

ABOVE THE CLOUDS

Celebrating the United Arab Emirates

On the occasion of the UAE’s 50th National Day, a milestone in the country’s history, Richard Mille is proud to unveil a visionary musical composition and video that pay homage to the past, present and future of the UAE — ‘Above the Clouds’.

Composed by iconoclastic musician Thomas Roussel, member of the Richard Mille family, the musical narrative embraces feelings of pride, determination and hope to tell the tale of the UAE’s remarkable journey. Reflecting on the country’s accomplishments over the last 50 years, and the vast potential it holds for next 50. Directed by Guillaume Mille, the video delivers a powerful visual experience that channels the astonishing vision of the UAE with an evocative, record-breaking performance shot atop the iconic Burj Al Arab.

‘When Richard Mille Middle East asks how they could participate in the UAE’s golden jubilee, I saw the unlimited potential of what an incredible visual and auditory experience this could be. I asked Pierre-Edouard Edelmann, the director of photography and NorthStar, the creative agency, to accompany me on this project. When we screened the clip for the first time, beyond the breathtaking images, I was deeply touched to see the emotion and the impact this video aroused in viewers. I think this is the best tribute we could offer for the 50-year anniversary of a fantastic city’

Guillaume Mille, Director of the Above the Clouds video

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An ode to United Arab Emirates

Suspended 212 metres above sea level, Thomas Roussel brought together a circular orchestral arrangement comprising nine exemplary musicians cast from within the UAE to encapsulate the essence and sentiment of the UAE on its golden jubilee. A master at navigating between the worlds of classical and electronic music, Thomas Roussel is famed for his musical mastery and free-thinking creativity.

The video, shot from dawn to dusk on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab, delivers a compelling experience that awakens the senses. It captures the journey of the sun as it moves from one horizon to the next, abstractly envisioning the passage of time. The dawn, a representation of the UAE’s past, is musically reimagined in a neo-classical style by Thomas Roussel at the keyboard. The deliberate additions of musicians and instruments, one at a time, reflects the storytelling approach of the composition with technical precision.
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The oriental sounds of the qanoon and drums, imaginatively woven through the musical narrative, subtly reference the warmth of the local heritage and culture; whilst the addition of the masterfully lengthened synthesizer beats, poetically elongate the moment of UAE’s 50th birthday before reaching a magnificent crescendo at dusk; an ode to UAE’s next 50 years.

This collaboration between Richard Mille and Thomas Roussel reflects the contemporary creativity of each party. With a passion for works that express a unique power of imagination and an obsession with perfection, Thomas Roussel, much like Richard Mille, breaks down the classical codes of composition, respecting its precise rules and traditions to create singular works that bridge melodies of time.
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‘Music is one of the only things in life that allows you to experiment with the past, because it lets you move forward with the previous notes of the melody. At the same time, you live more intensely in the fleeting present, and you can glimpse the future because you are able to anticipate the end of the melody.’

Thomas Roussel