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There are moments in our lives
when birth and death intersect and engage in dialogue for a moment. Often, this is done in silence. La Féline decided to go the musical route.
Vie Future, the third album by musician and author Agnès Gayraud (she is just about to publish her recent philosophical essay Dialectic of Pop in English (Urbanomic, 2019), is a truly cosmic record. At once deep and airborne, like the musician herself, it is an opus concerned with the cycle of life – that arc in which the cosmos expresses itself in the physical world, and where worries about the present never stand in the way of joy.
The songwriting process began in February 2018, when Agnès’ stepfather was about to pass on, just as she was herself about to give birth. She just didn't know yet. And, feeling her way through it, she took her guitar, a few effect pedals and her iPad, and started writing songs in her Lyon studio. Songs that would tell her of her future, the melodies becoming like small oracles.
In the ensuing months, pregnancy succeeded mourning, the two woven closer together by the emerging music. Somewhere in the space between earthbound gravity and cosmic trip, coldwave and astral ballads, La Féline intelligently chronicles the interlocking "immense sadness and immense joy, a hopelessness that sidles up to a deep trust in the universe ».
Delving into the intimate in a manner reminiscent of the greatest French songwriters like Anne Sylvestre or Brigitte Fontaine, La Féline channels a sort of Laurie Anderson-like universe. This collusion is prodded along by Xavier Thiry production, who has been working with Agnès since 2008. Together, they paint La Féline’s sound using wide-screen reverb, space echoes and pitch effects, playfully juxtaposing synthesized sounds and string ensembles, peppering songs with noises from the worlds that make up the album's galaxy. The result is imbued with a cinematic glow, recalling science fiction akin to Pink Floyd's Set the Controls to the Heart of the Sun, Ray Bradbury's short stories, the cold exoticism of David Sylvian, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. In this case, however, the science fiction has already happened, the present we are going through already resembling unsettling dreams.
Vie Future is a contemporary record: it is the soundtrack of our unsound present. A survey of the anguish and joys that accompany the ecological and political disasters we are facing.
Just like the Jacques Tourneur film that inspired her nom de scène, La Féline seems struck by a curse and "begins to doubt this reality". With her shapeshifting, heavenly, powerful voice, she sings of the collapse of our beliefs and certainties. The impossibility of resurrection (Tant que tu respires, Où est passée ton âme); our planet's doomed future (Palmiers Sauvages, Depuis le ciel); but also, mankind's vulnerability, as we continue to fight for survival in a world we are at once responsible for and subject to (La terre entière), and her infinite love for her child, who she could visualize even before the birth (Vision de Dieu, and Voyage à Cythère, a track that samples her baby's heartbeat, captured during an ultrasound).
As a way of ending the trilogy that she had begun with Adieu L’Enfance (2014) and Triomphe (2018), Vie Future is full of ambitious, moving, future-forward pop that takes us to the edge — between dream and reality, present and future, disaster and comets.
An album full of menace, surprise, and promise. Just like life.
Composer/producer with an eye for talent - a quick description that neatly resumes the talents of Marc Collin, who over the years has progressed from the studio to playing live.
Whether on projects like Nouvelle Vague (often a launchpad for an impressive list of artists on the rise) or with artists such as Yasmine Hamdan (an iconic French-Lebanese singer), Phoebe Killdeer (now known worldwide for her remix by The Avener) and Jay-Jay Johanson (the Scandinavian crooner), Marc Collin nurtures international artists whose particular sensibility and experience appeal to him.
Particularly careful with his production values, Marc Collin is above all a lover of old synths, the ones that left their mark on the 80s, and knows how to get the best out of them for his modern productions by addressing a wide audience.
With its meticulous production characterised by a certain sweetness and subtlety, whether in English, French or more exotic languages, Kwaidan Records is a Parisian institution that welcomes artists from anywhere in the world, helping them develop and confirm their talent.