Bringing avant-garde music into the 21st century with the French polymath.
Félicia Atkinson is an artist in the broadest sense of the word. The Paris-born autodidact infuses her work with influences and references from poetry, theatre, philosophy, visual art or pretty much anything that strikes her imagination, as well as exhibiting installations, video art and plenty more besides. In her music, she builds intimate but thought-provoking environments that draw on the legacy of the 20th century avant-garde but give things a modern shot in the arm, with iPhone recordings and computer processing heightening the personal touch. It's no surprise given she was answering the phones at French sound research institute IRCAM from an early age, but her music escapes the academic stuffiness of much avant-garde works.
That sense of carrying the torch for experimental music is further emphasised by her label and publishing house Shelter Press, which she runs with her partner Bartolomé Sanson. The imprint releases records from leading lights like Eli Keszler but also publishes books that give musicians and writers a much-needed space to think deeply about listening and sound.
In conversation with Chal Ravens, we get an insight into Atkinson's latest record, The Flower And The Vessel, as well as some of the thought processes, life experiences and techniques that shape her compositions.
The RA Exchange is also available on Spotify.