Uneasy listening from the experimental electronic artist Mélissa Gagné.
Adoration, Gagné's debut album as CECILIA, was inspired by the writer and activist Audre Lorde. In an essay titled The Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power, Lorde redefined the erotic, so often limited to the pornographic or sexual, as a source of women's personal and political power and a celebration of unexpressed feelings. In Adoration, the "erotic" unfolds through the various voices, track names ("House Of Flesh," "Gros Animal") and the album's title, which, as Gagné explains, "could be pure and innocent," but "could also be fanatic, destructive and blind."
A collection of female voices forms the album's backbone. Though you'll hear French, English and Italian being spoken, the emotions always come through clearly. A broken-down relationship unravels itself on "Pagliaccio," a track featuring Jasmine Pisapia, a friend of Gagné's, who repeats, "Sei un pagliaccio," ("You are a clown"). "House Of Flesh" is full of irrational chaos and confessional whispers. "I wish I could hold you tight," goes the vocal, "while I spit in your eyes."
Adoration offers an introspective and disorienting way of listening, and can leave you feeling as if you've accidentally walked into a haunted house. The plucked string melodies in "Descente Ferme" could easily belong to a budget horror film. Yet these sounds sit comfortably inside the album's paranoid electronics. Over time, an unnerving effect builds up that mimics a faltering, but very human, mode of attention: agitated waves of alertness followed by indifferent awareness. It's not an easy listen, but you'll get a lot out of Adoration by spending time with it, preferably alone in a dark room.