Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch shares 'Katabasis' video, new album Ravage is out now

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch releases new album Ravage via FatCat imprint, 130701 Records

New video 'Katabasis' shared

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“Even more compelling as it progresses, leading you from shallows into deeper, darker water.” The Quietus

"It has a maturity of composition and a genuine sense of adventurous exploratory innovation... moving beyond the spare delicacy of contemporary minimalist-inspired pianism." TLOBF

"Stunning... an emotional listen, piano keys tinkling and bold cello and viola set against scattered electronic textures. Another neoclassical star in the house of 130701." Electronic Sound

Today, Ivor Novello nominated neo-classical composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch has released Ravage, a deeply personal third album-turned-diary, describing the process of grieving the loss of her father: an event that was sudden and traumatic, of which Emilie found it almost impossible to talk about for weeks following his passing. Alongside the album's release, she has also shared visuals for album track 'Katabasis', directed by visual artist Alice May Williams. ‘Katabasis’ begins on a breath-y drone and then a bleak, overdriven loop of tumbling piano, pulling out to a complex web of note patterns, before finding itself pulled back in the undertow. The accompanying music video has been constructed out of found footage, a DVD copy of the artist's grandfather's experiments in amateur 16mm filmmaking. Williams was interested in what her grandfather had chosen to commit to film. There was the usual holiday clips; two young boys (the artist's father and uncle) performing dutifully for the camera, but there was also bittersweet moments; his sister emigrating to America on the SS United States. She waves from the deck, her brother filming from multiple distances until she is barely visible. The film is a remix of innocuous footage from a particularly Welsh family life (holidays, coracle racing and the 1962 national Eistedfod feature prominently) reinterpreted to mirror the intense emotions stirred by 'Katabasis'. Initially the original cuts and edits of the reel lead the way, especially during the calmer passages of gentle rhythmic harmony. Towards the end, Williams chops into the footage aggressively. The tempo of the editing threatens to fall out of step, away from the music which itself seems almost at war with itself. The onslaught of clips brings to mind the sometimes intrusive nature of memories, however pleasant. A repetitious revisiting of the past can be exhausting when it arrives unexpectedly, at the wrong time, or in the wrong order. This piece of moving image was created to match the intensity of 'Katabasis', a hissing, gravelly, piece of music which explores so viscerally the heavy sensation of grief. Released on FatCat’s 130701 imprint (Max Richter, Johann Johannsson, Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka), Ravage deals with a slippery emotional complexity, artfully side-stepping the traps of cliché, to deliver an unflinching journey through emotions in a state of flux. “I wasn’t looking for a universal pattern or ‘5 stages of grief’, but at how loss is experienced on an individual level”, Emilie explains. “It's looking at an event that is so banal and yet cataclysmic, at how thoroughly unprepared we are for something almost all of us will experience, but also at how the loss of someone might help us understand them, remove any tension or resentment, and help us see their fragility.” Subsequent composition continued at Emilie’s home in London over the winter lockdown of 2020/21. Reading numerous literary accounts of grieving, Emilie was inspired by artist Taryn Simon's piece An Occupation of Loss, which featured professional mourners from around the world and the public performance of grief. This informed the way she used her voice to help create the album’s drones and textures, making the internal, external. “I see Ravage as a mourning diary - it's intimate, ritualistic. Some of the methods used are more to do with their symbolic meaning than with the resulting sound.” Her voice was recorded via contact microphones applied directly onto her throat or chest to try and capture interior sound, the personal experience of mourning as a sound, rather than its public expression. Another touchstone was Latvian parapsychologist Konstantins Raudive's mid-’60s study of Electronic Voice Phenomenon – finding spirit voices embedded in electronic recordings. On ‘Fata Morgana’ a short passage from her father’s correspondence was weaved, using AI, into the track, manipulated and filtered to the limit of legibility, “making you feel you could almost grasp its meaning without ever being fully able to.” From start to finish, Ravage leads you through Emilie’s personal process of grief, from a pounding depth to delicate fragility, and bears witness to Emilie’s skill-sets as both a pianist and sculptor of sound. Ditching strings for synths and far more drone-heavy than previous albums, it sees a bold coalescence of acoustic and digital sources, of the arranged/processed and the performed. With movement both across the album and within tracks themselves, richly textured and layered sound pieces are interspersed between, and seep within, Emilie’s forceful yet fluid, expressive piano playing. Ravage is Emilie’s first standalone album since 2018’s Époques, following which she has been busy building a name for herself scoring an increasingly high-profile series of films. Ravage is available to stream today and is set to be released on vinyl on June 17th.

Pre-order: https://emilielevienaise-farrouch.bandcamp.com/album/ravage

More about Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch

Born in Paris, Emilie grew up in Bordeaux and moved to London in 2006 to complete a BA in music at Westminster University, then a Masters degree in composition at Goldsmiths. Alongside these studies, she worked for three years at Bleep, gaining enlightening exposure to a vast range of weird and wonderful new music. Signed by FatCat’s 130701 imprint after sending a demo in 2014, Emilie’s debut LP, Like Water Through the Sand came out in November 2015. Since releasing her sophomore LP, Epoques, in July 2018, Emilie has been busy composing for moving image, providing scores for films including the BIFA winning / BAFTA nominated Only You (2018), which was released as a digital EP on 130701 (the lead track gaining over 4 million Spotify plays); for Sarah Gavron’s BAFTA-winning Rocks (2019); Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.’s Netfilx chart-topping The Forgotten Battle (2021) and Prano Bailey-Bond's indie hit Censor (2021), for which she was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. During this time, Emilie also wrote a piece for solo violin and electronics for Galya Bisengalieva’s debut, and most recently has contributed a new track to Nils Frahm’s 2022 Piano Day compilation. She also scored Oliver Hermanus’ film, Living, which stars Bill Nighy and will be released in cinemas later this year. Following in the footsteps of recent adventurous composers like Johann Johannsson, Mica Levi and Hildur Gudnadottir, Emilie looks set to break through as another hugely talented artist combining roles as composer for both film and her own wonderful music.




Fata Morgana

An Easy Passage


The Universe Within You




Parting Gift

Ravage (Solo piano)

Katabasis (Solo piano)