Felicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma - Un Hiver En Plein Ete LP
Label: Shelter Press
Over the last five years, the duo of Félicia Atkinson and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma have intertwined sublime sonorities across the geographic expanses between their respective homes in France and the United States. Their third album for Shelter Press, Un Hiver En Plein Été ("A winter in the middle of summer") - the first to have been largely recorded by Atkinson and Cantu-Ledesma together in the same space - distills a mesmerizing pallet of acoustic and electronic sources into an open discourse of radically poetic forms. Both veteran experimentalists with celebrated bodies of solo work behind them - each traversing the challenges of electroacoustic practice in their own singular ways - prior to their first recorded outing in 2016, Félicia Atkinson and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma had only crossed paths in person once, initially meeting in San Francisco during 2009.
The mutual bond formed during that brief encounter flowered into their first LP, Comme Un Seul Narcisse, followed two years later by 2018's Limpid As The Solitudes. Both recorded remotely, these two albums were guided by impassioned conceptual nods to Guy Debord, Baudelaire, Brion Gysin and Sylvia Plath, while seeking resolutions for the challenges and unique possibilities that working at a distance provoked. Un Hiver En Plein Été culminates as a celebration of closeness, a result of Atkinson and Cantu-Ledesma working together in the studio, responsively in real time, for the first time. Recorded in Brooklyn during August of 2019 - a handful of months before the pandemic would impose chasmic distances across the globe - its six discrete works, carefully crafted and finalized over the ensuing year, evolve seamlessly across the album's two sides, weaving a sprawling tapestry of sonority, within which both artists retaining their own voices and visions, while drawing each other towards uncharted ground.
Atkinson likens the recording of Un Hiver En Plein Été to have been akin to "a playground," each artist "hungry for each sound, a bit like the rush in the Louvre in Godard's Bande à part," to which Cantu-Ledesma adds that the process seemed to have had "a mind of its own," with both "along for the ride." This organic sense of entropy and enthusiasm - a joyous exploration of the unknown - guides the momentum of the album's evolving arc. Un Hiver En Plein Été is crafted from deconstructed melodic elements and drifting long-tones - laden with subtle nods to Indian classical ragas and free jazz - searching patterns of speech, textural elements captured within the studio and the outside world, and searching tonal and percussive interventions.