Napoli-based Montreal artist CECILIA presents her first full-length album, Adoration, out via Halcyon Veil. The 33- minute, 10-track LP follows last year’s visual EP Charity Whore, released on Yves Tumor’s Grooming Label. CECILIA is the dissociative metamorphosis of multidisciplinary artist Mélissa Gagné, whose practice spans music, video, installation, performance and theatre. She recently collaborated on two songs on Les Fleurs du Mal, the latest album from Halcyon Veil founder Rabit. Her musical output under previous DJ/producer alias Babi Audi includes harrowing electronic releases Club Dead LTD (Hoss Records, 2015) and Mommy Dust (self-released, 2015) as well as the visual concept mix 6 Page Letter (DIS magazine, 2016). Gagné is also the creator of hybrid stage works, notably Nailed High (Mutek, 2017) and Sochi Snow (Sight & Sound, 2015). Adoration is her most refined, delicately crafted effort to date.
Entirely written, composed and produced by CECILIA, Adoration is a lucid-dream immersion into a state of deep, personal interiority. The album’s 10 experimental tracks move through a desolate soundscape, hollowed out yet humid with emotion. Here, in this phantasmagoria, loss and romanticism commingle, “The adorer has been stripped of what was there to adore. The album is the consequence, the symptom of an adoration made impossible” CECILIA explains. “Most of us are miserably constraint to love conditionally, rationally and pragmatically. How could we possibly adore again?” she asks.
Wielding bare-essence fragments of synth, guitar and beat improvisations, polyglot vocalizations from original poems and film samples, CECILIA creates a distilled language of tactile sound and intimate utterance. The album’s evocative textures are arranged with devastating restraint and specificity- muted plucked strings, hobbled beats, a metallic trill, a wobbly horn line, sirens wailing in dialogue; some gather the substance of leitmotif. And all the while, threading through Adoration is the female voice. Breathless, plaintive, incantatory, in French, English and Italian we hear from the artist, her friend Jasmine Pisapia, the writer and activist Grisélidis Réal, the actress Jeanne Moreau : a ventriloquy act by CECILIA.
“You are in a psychic chamber and premonitory voices reach you from all sides. The album is an inner dialogue one must have with oneself but also a conversation one must have with the most malicious interlocutor. One is summoned to whisper truth, beauty, tragedy to demon ears.” Adoration incubated for a year and a half in between Montreal, Toronto and New York, during a time of personal tumult, and finally came together in a room with a door of Queens, on a beach terrace of Brighton Beach, and on a sun-exposed roof strewn with pages by Audre Lorde, Hélène Cixous and Pier Paolo Pasolini.
released May 4, 2018
Mastering: Matt Colton at Alchemy
Album art photography: Stefan Schwartzman
Styling: Gray Ren
Conception and Design: Cecilia
Tense ambient soundscapes boosted by disquiet industrial effects serve as a screen for the dark nights of a young woman that opens for us her intimate diary. The album is then the bland, atone report of her waves of anxiety. It's a floating nightmare, it isn't nasty in any way, more friendly and welcoming than anything. Curiously, it makes me thing of Cronenberg's cinema... Bertrand Marchal