Félicia Atkinson ‎– A Readymade Ceremony


[Reviewed by stark]

Experimental music at full speed. And at the same time decidedly bearing its author’s mark, as well as a highly noticeable feminine aura hovering over the music. Although “A Readymade Ceremony” requires concentration and at least a dozen in-depth hearings to fully embrace the idea of the author, this characteristic sensitivity for the fairer sex reaches the listener’s heart almost immediately.

Félicia, coming from France and living in Belgium for a couple of years, recorded this album in the US; in Oregon to be more specific. This is the first full-length under her own name since “O-RE-GON” released via Home Normal, although during these almost four years she recorded several EPs on various media. “A Readymade Ceremony” is an intricately woven collage of sounds which have their origins in experimental music, musique concrète and ambient with occasional expeditions to other musical realms.

Let’s take “Against Archives” where between soulless, machine forms a gentle, somewhat careless singing shows up as if taken straight out of a trip-hop song. During the first, the second listen it seems like one form doesn’t accede to the other, but with time and with each subsequent listen, this contrast seems to make more and more sense. Also in “L’Oeil” something delicate and ephemeral is struggling with an experimental roughness. Félicia’s whispering enchants and lures, while the electronic layer wraps around it in a surreal dance, without giving any indication which way it will follow in just a few seconds. Like unfinished, abstract pieces of thoughts, impressions. In the context of this piece, its form and sound, a certain connotation comes to mind. It’s so absurd that I feel uncomfortable and awkward mentioning it, but I feel that “L’Oeil” has something in common with “Algiz- Konvergence Of Life And Death”. This unlistened piece by Mz.412 came back to my head while “reading” Félicia’s recording. Without deeper divagations. Now you may laugh.

“The Book Is The Territory” sounds nice, perhaps it’s the most nostalgic phase of the album. Not the first time I hear some distant echoes of Coil here. A secret, hidden under a layer of sound. Sketchy, coming straight into the soul. At the same time I start to think about the kind of “homemade” sound in the record, since it is impossible not to notice that everything was recorded without the use of studio tricks, but only with a laptop and a simple software. Which fact Félicia herself admits in a press release. I like the idea, because the sound itself doesn’t suffer and moreover we have an impression of dealing with something very personal. An intimate sound diary of the artist. This strikes me even more in “Carve The Concept And The Artichoke”.

“Recherche De La Base Et Du Sommet” closes the album, a track built on the basis of a “windy” drone, bass piano tones and a voice saying something in French. This composition has the shape of a sine wave, where the tension and density of sound from time to time disappear for the sake of parts where silence plays a significant role. And so ends the LP, leaving the listener with the impression of communing with something very personal, dedicated exclusively to them. Whether that was the idea, I don’t know; as for me, I’ll be returning to “A Ceremony Readymade” only when I’m alone at home, wrapped in a blanket, with the assurance that no outside factors will disturb me during this specific experience between me and this French artist.

Félicia Atkinson ‎– A Readymade Ceremony
Shelter Press, SP055
LP 2015

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