French Poet Félicia Atkinson Lines Up New Shelter Press Album
'The Flower & The Vessel' LP lands July 5.
The French poet and ASMR auteur has frequently fixated on the interwoven relationship between microcosms and macrocosms—how even the quietest creative act ripples outward in unforeseen ways. Her latest work pursues this notion in a more literal and lasting fashion, as it was crafted while pregnant on tour, in impersonal hotel rooms in foreign cities. She describes it as “a record not about being pregnant but a record made with pregnancy.” Each day and night, finding herself far from home, she asked herself “What am I doing here? How can I connect myself to the world?” The answer gradually revealed itself: “With small gestures: recording my voice, recording birds, a simple melody.”
The album’s 11 songs span a vast range of whispering textures, opaque moods, and surreal spoken word. Atkinson cites a trio of French classical compositions from her childhood as formative influences on this particular collection: Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges (meaning “a scary opera for kids”), Debussy’s La Mer (for its union of narration and music), and Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies (as an exercise in negative space, irony without cynicism, and “melody with doubt”.) We’re told that there’s a shade of classicism woven within these tracks, however veiled, abstracted, or unorthodox. Melancholic piano motifs repeat then retreat into a radiant frost of shivering frequencies; processed voices recite cut-up poems and interviews over delay-refracted Rhodes and Wurlitzer; iPad gamelan patterns flutter from meditative to melancholic and back again.
Although much of Atkinson’s past discography is shaped by speech and the lyricism of language, The Flower & The Vessel ventures farther into silence, absence, and voicelessness. It also features field recordings from Tasmania and the Mojave Desert, which murmur beneath hushed reverberations of gong, vibraphone, and marimba.
Atkinson’s last solo album, Hand In Hand, came in 2017, also on Shelter Press.
02. Moderato Cantabile
03. Shirley to Shirley
04. Un Ovale Vert
05. You Have To Have Eyes
06. Linguistics Of Atoms
09. Open / Ouvre
10. L’Enfant Et Le Poulpe
11. Des Pierres
The Flower & The Vessel LP lands July 5, with “Shirley to Shirley” streaming below.