Félicia Atkinson new full length album, Hand In Hand
is an expanded development of her musical compositions started with the highly-acclaimed A Readymade Ceremony
released on Shelter Press in 2015, and follows her collaborative effort with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma Comme Un Seul Narcisse
(Shelter Press, 2016).
Composed over the year of 2016 at EMS during a snow storm and at home in Brittany, Hand in Hand
could be considered as the most ambitious body of work recorded by the French musician and artist.
Doubt and Optimism are the two sides of a same coin. Hand in Hand is arid and warm in its whole synchrony and opposition. Days are burning and nights are made of ice. Coyotes are exchanging sounds with rattles snakes while bunnies are hiding. Strident modular sounds are tearing apart minimal beats and drones. The stories told by A Voice
to the auditor are no longer fictions and become slowly reality.
Electric waves transmitted by living creatures and machines seem to deliver special sounds and frequencies that only non-human can hear. They grow and vibrate despite of the walls and interdictions. Therefore, the human who is listening to this record might find in it a particular kind of emotion a way to take space in silence, and frame a certain vision of thinking while losing a certain notion of time, acknowledging step by step its universal environment. Plants, galaxies, animals, machines, Hand in Hand
This record is meant to be a moment of common thinking and listening in its diversity and abstraction. In the same way a sci-fi novel by Philip K. Dick or a sculpture by Guy Mees
can be percieved: trivial, sensitive and mysterious at the same time.
The opening track, I'm Following You
is a bleached romantic ballad for Fender Rhodes that could be the ending title of a Martian love story, whereas Visnaga
praises the resources of a desert plant through asmr voices, field recordings and evasive chords. A House A Dance A Poem
is a feminist hymn composed as a pyramidal structure, referring in the same time to the A-frame houses, the yoga position of the triangle, the first letter of the roman alphabet and the feminine sex. In the closing song, No Fear But Anticipation
, Atkinson offers an open hearted plea about the existentialist necessity of finding desire even when the times seem too dark to think about it. A telepathic and non-scholastic anthem for Don Delillo, Joan Didion and Jean Paul Sartre. The final Buchla sounds that close the record seem to deliver an unspeakable message that only birds and aliens could transcript.
The echo of the 80's sci-fi anxious aethetics resonates with today's transparency of digital sounds in the whole record. The cohabitation of simple midi textures and historical Serge and Buchla signals are convoked and confronted together by A Voice
. The human instrument appears here as the epicenter of the recordings, giving to the others instruments a gravitational point.
Joan La Barbara, Robert Ashley or Delia Derbyshire are the main influences of Atkinson in their own way of inviting fiction, composition and abstraction as the essential materials of composition. For Hand In Hand
, Félicia Atkinson used different sources for the lyrics and scores of her tracks: house plant instruction books, Desert Magazine
old issues, architecture manuals, J.G. Ballard
and K. Dick's books, as well as her own poetry.
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).