Auteur Pop / Avant-Pop / Chamber Pop / Électro / Electronic / Experimental / Experimental / Contemporary

Erika Angell: Everybody, in trance!

par Frédéric Cardin

Last night at Montreal’s Ausgang Plaza, singer-songwriter Erika Angell (of Thus Owls fame) launched her debut solo album, The Obsession With Her Voice (which was discussed at length in my interview with the artist – listen to it here!) The packed house resonated to the sometimes soaring, sometimes spiritually incandescent waves of the Swedish-born Montrealer’s music. Her voice, beautiful and in tune, was regularly manipulated by electronic equipment. Next to her, Mili Hong’s drums (excellent) sometimes gave the impression of having an independent life. But this was intentional. To round things off, there was a string trio with two cellos (Audréanne Filion et Jean-Christophe Lizotte) and a viola (Thierry Lavoie-Ladouceur), favoring the lower notes. The packed audience listened with remarkable attention to music that is, after all, demanding and sometimes even difficult. Angell’s music is not about seductive pop. She explores the expressive possibilities of her own vocal abilities through long, spare lines, but harmonically steeped in sophisticated modernism. The lyrics, too, raise the bar with thoughtful symbolism. That said, against a backdrop of beat box pulses of various stripes, purring post-romantic strings and often arrhythmic drums, the artist convincingly won over the audience, who showed a remarkably interested and respectful ear. The audience was in a state of trance in front of the stage beauty, which reached a level of musical quality matched only by other artists like Björk, Joanna Newsom or Kate Bush (even if Erika is stylistically totally different). Not a bad line up to be part of.

The evening was part of the FIKA(S) festival devoted to Scandinavian/Nordic culture. SEE THE FIKA(S) PROGRAMME

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