Newly remastered by Rashad Becker for this vinyl edition, ‘Echo’ finds Félicia Atkinson synching her feelings into a watercolour suite of solo keys, voice and field recordings, unfurling 40 minutes of new music that we wager will take your breath away.
Félicia was undertaking an artistic residency in La Becque when the plague took hold in Europe at the start of 2020. Stationed with her husband and young child in the small artistic community near Geneva, she wrote this “imaginary garden” of music dedicated to anyone in pain or isolation. The result is a ponderous mix of slow but searching keys, windswept sax, room recordings and sensitively detached but intimate electronic touches that she intended to mirror the solace she came to find and provide a place for reflection for anyone in need.
Working from a wooden chalet surrounded by gardens, and particularly one inspired by Derek Jarman’s in Dungeness (created in the years after he learned he had AIDS), Félicia acts as a transducer for quiet energies and the worries of a world where, as she puts it; “basic things… suddenly seemed so crucial and vast; health, disease, plants, nature, solitude, family, people, fear, calm….”.
Across six pieces spanning almost 40 minutes, Félicia describes a slow but fleeting passage of time between pruned pieces of sound poetry, uncanny concrete abstractions and broader parts of ambient jazz that recall the vulnerability and fragility of Terre Thaemlitz’s solo piano expressions with her own sort of tactility and blurry ambiguity, especially the 13 minute ‘Lillies’. Around and behind each note you can hear the creak of Félicia’s chair, her breath on the microphone, birds outside - radiating warmth and a wondrous intangibility that’s impossible to express in words, imbuing the listener with a sense of liminality - of existing between worlds.
A proper salve for the soul, we tell you.