French artist Félicia Atkinson teams up with New York-based experimentalist Jefre Cantu-Ledesma with Comme un seul narcisse—an
epistolar conversation of post-modern times.
Recorded between NYC and the Alps, Comme un seul narcisse
is the first collaborative effort of Jefre Cantu-Ledesma and Félicia Atkinson, who—strangely enough—only met “in real” once in San Francisco back in 2009. But the record is also a detour. While Cantu-Ledesma released the haunting A Year With 13 moons
(Mexican Summer, 2015) and Atkinson her most intimate effort to date with A Readymade Ceremony
, 2015), their combined music sounds like everything but their recent records, filling the gaps between their solo outputs.
What is it to wander? What is it to be—as Baudelaire
would put it—a flaneur
from a continent to another?
From the subways of NYC to the crooked trails of the Alps, the two musicians have exchanged fragments of sounds, melodies, composing and building together a new landscape, neither bucolic or urban, a bit aside from nomenclatures or postcard-type aprehension of a site-specific recording.
Here there's no specific site but a construction build from eterogenous elements brought together, in a virtual ecosystem.
What is to wander… in a non-specific site? Is it a fragmentation? A sedimentation?
The title of the records and the tracks are hinerited from Susan Sontag's On Photography
quoting Baudelaire: “the flaneur sees himself in the documents and medias he uses and intergrates to his own perception, the act of recording becomes again an act of feeling.”
Somewhere between some Fluxus
collages and more contemporary musicality, this “neither/nor” music confront abstraction to the impermanence of concrete materials, building something on its own, as a standing still ceramic or a pond. Comme un seul narcisse
is a record to live with, as Jacques Rancière
would put it a partage du sensible
(distribution of the sensible), standing as it is, unresolved, neither as a simulacre. There's no image to watch here but the possibility of a shared a moment, inviting the listener to complete the experience by himself.
Experimental musician, sound and visual artist Félicia Atkinson (born 1981) lives on the wild coast of Normandy (France). She has played music since the early 2000s. She has released many records and a novel on Shelter Press
, the label and publisher she co-runs with Bartolomé Sanson.
For Félicia Atkinson, human voices inhabit an ecology alongside and within many other things that don't speak, in the conventional sense: landscapes, images, books, memories, ideas. The French electro-acoustic composer and visual artist makes music that animates these other possible voices in conversation with her own, collaging field recording, MIDI instrumentation, and snippets of essayistic language in both French and English. Her own voice, always shifting to make space, might whisper from the corner or assume another character's tone. Atkinson uses composing as a way to process imaginative and creative life, frequently engaging with the work of visual artists, filmmakers, and novelists. Her layered compositions tell stories that alternately stretch and fold time and place, stories in which she is the narrator but not the protagonist.
Félicia Atkinson has collaborated with musicians including Jefre Cantu-Ledesma
, Chris Watson, Christina Vantzou, and Stephen O'Malley
, and with ensembles including Eklekto (Geneva) and Neon (Oslo). She has performed at venues and festivals including INA GRM/Maison de la Radio and the Philharmonie (Paris), Issue Project Room (NYC), the Barbican Center (London), Le Guess Who (Utrecht), Atonal (Berlin), Henie Onstad (Oslo), Unsound (Krakow), and Skanu Mesz (Riga). Her work has been commissioned by filmmakers (Ben Rivers
, Chivas de Vinck) and fashion houses (Prada, Burberry). She has exhibited in museums, galleries, and biennials including RIBOCA Biennale (Riga), Overgaden (Copenhagen), BOZAR (Brussels), Espace Paul Ricard (Paris), and MUCA ROMA (Mexico City).
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is a San Francisco-based multi-instrumentalist, founder of music label Root Strata, a founding member of Tarentel and a member of many other bands (The Holy See, The Alps, Moholy-Nagy, Isidore Ducasse, Josephine, Raum).