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New album Ravage is due out on May 27th via
FatCat imprint, 130701 Records
“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
Ahead of the release of Ravage, her deeply personal third album-turned-diary, today Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch has shared new single 'Parting Gift'. The album, due out on May 27th via 130701 Records, describes the process of grieving the loss of Emilie's father: an event that was sudden and traumatic, of which she found it almost impossible to talk about for weeks following his passing. New single ‘Parting Gift’ is the final track on the album, a thick, fuggy drone chord sequence, out of which a little light ultimately emerges.
Of her new single, Emilie says:
"I started writing this track around the same time I was developing the project that would become Ravage, but didn't see it as part of the album; its more peaceful melancholy didn't match how I felt in my grief. I intended to close the record with 'Epilogue' but kept coming back to the initial synth chord progression recorded through various old analogue gear. Eventually, I realised the reason it stayed on my mind was because it echoes the place I was slowly reaching, a place of acceptance of loss."
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.
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.
The piano parts were recorded at Love Electric in April 2021 on a Bosendorfer Imperial. It was mixed at Spitfire Studios and mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri. Unlike her previous albums, both of which featured string parts performed by soloists from the London Contemporary Orchestra, the entirety of the music this time around is Emilie’s work alone. “In part due to the subject of the album, I decided to perform everything on this record myself”.
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. The first 50 copies of the vinyl purchased from either Bandcamp or the FatCat webstore will come bundled with a 28-page, A4 sheet music book, containing scores for five of the album's songs.
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), the soundtrack of which was released via Invada Records. 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.
An Easy Passage
The Universe Within You
Ravage (Solo piano)
Katabasis (Solo piano)