Cecilia - Adoration LP
Label: Halcyon Veil
Adoration is the restrained yet ravishing début album by Mélissa Gagné, aka Cecilia, a Rome-based Montreal artist who previously lit up two songs on Rabit's Les Fleurs Du Mal album, released an EP for Yves Tumor's label (2017), and now makes a commanding and significant impression with one of 2018's most haunting LPs, a filigree dramaturgy of trip hop, ersatz film score music, and ambient collage. CECILIA wrote and produced Adoration, singing in English, French, and Italian with accompaniment by mutual spirits such as her friend Jasmine Pisapia and the poet activist Griséldis Réal, who help to render a stark yet subtly gilded cross-section of her psyche, which places the listener as dark interpreter to a series of tumultuous inner dialogues. "One is summoned to whisper truth, beauty, tragedy to demon ears." Incubated for 18 months between Montreal, Toronto, and New York, Adoration reads like intimately diaristic pages recalling an amorphous lucid dream. In that phantasmagoric headspace she meditates on loss and romanticism, using a shifting backdrop of highly visual stimuli to frame her thoughts and bring them to life with an uncannily immersive effect perhaps not felt so strongly since Félicia Atkinson's Hand In Hand in 2017. Electronic bass and percussion are shadowed with traces of synth and guitar improvisations, but the one consistent element is the female voice. Sometime detached, glossolalic, and at others uncannily familiar, plaintive, that vocal presence is integral to the LP's quietly absorbing atmosphere, and even if the listener can't understand their direct meaning, they connote so much more through abstracted inference and ambiguity. Following her early forays made with the Charity Whore EP for Yves Tumor's Grooming label, and previous work as DJ/producer Babi Audi, along with her hybrid stage works, CECILIA ties all those strands into an illusory yet highly distinguished work set to resonate with listeners from myriad backgrounds and disciplines.