Felicia Atkinson studied at Les Beaux-Arts de Paris and is a predominantly a visual artist. She is also a musician and writer. A Readymade Ceremony is an oratorio in five parts, fuzzy ambient soundscapes and whispered spoken vocals. Like her visual pieces, Atkinson uses improvisation as the starting point for her music and carries it through the album. The album was entirely recorded on basic software on her laptop - an intentional move on her part. The austere measure ensures that she controls what she does, crucial in her eyes, to drive her career.
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The cover art for A Readymade Ceremony, the latest audible meditation from the primarily visual artist Felicia Atkinson, contains a screengrab of her macbook. This fragment is surrounded by snatches of conversations between a few folks and some distortion, and a solitary capitalised “HOUSE.” The distortion says “I’m gonna break you into pieces”, then sticks to that promise when the needle hits the wax.
There’s a clear link between the visual and sonic aspects of the album - few minutes are missing the unsettling excerpts of whispered text, and the rest is quite pure noise. Distortion rumbles and thunders forth in lyrical motion, defying the words’ achievements, the words cutting back with definition. The whole album becomes a sort of push-pull between the two that is really quite creepy to be sat between. Tracks like the opener begin with a Raster Noton-esque rhythmic stutter before her speech cuts across, only for the distortion to double back (“L’Oeil” is full of it) and be thwarted by a multilayered mouth collage.
The first side is barely melodic, the first track of the 2nd side adding some nice minimal melancholy to the fuzz. A bell tolls. This begins the drones that trundle towards the end of the record, some looming like bowed glass bowls and others belting out a heinous screech - I think at this point it is clear that the distortion has accomplished what it set out to do. Felicia is no more.
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- A Readymade Ceremony by Felicia Atkinson
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