Early this year, I braved the Mancunian cold to witness a wonderful show from A Winged Victory For The Sullen. Not only were the headliners incredible, but I was also somewhat enchanted by the support act Sleepingdog, comprising Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie of the aforementioned AWVFTS, and Chantal Acda. I was converted to a fan immediately, and was also intrigued to hear of this new project of Chantal’s. It’s an organic coming-together of music, poetry and art that is the sort of concept that would have me running, screaming in terror, but her performance back in January convinced me to pick this one up. And I’m glad I did.
Two years ago, Chantal Acda was performing at a poetry night that happened to also feature poet Lotte Dodion. Lotte’s words moved Chantal to the extent that she put four of her poems to music, ultimately leading to the release of this EP, adding Netherlands artist Inge Bos to add images to Lotte’s words and Chantal’s music.
When dealing with all things minimal, ambient and emotional, my ignorance shines forth like a beacon of idiocy, as the only main point of reference I have for this music is a shared spirit with Icelandic pioneers Sigur Rós’ gentler moments. Sung (as far as I can tell) in Dutch, each word is whispered with sugarglass fragility and the utmost care for the words within. The music that surrounds this is equally gentle, pulsing and breathing slowly and calmly with a touch so light that it’s really difficult to write about, given that it’s holding my attention completely while playing and vanishing like soap bubbles as soon as I try to grasp a tangible thought.
It’s impossible to pick out any true highlights as it works so well as a single piece with each track breathing into each other, although I am rather taken with Kaper Op De Kust, with its single piano accompaniment seeming rather distant and Chantal’s voice further still so that she is barely audible but definitely and beautifully there. Closer Bouwverlof with its harmonies is also worthy of note as it’s the “fullest” sound of the collection, although it’s still utterly dreamlike.
Nu Nog Even Niet (and thankyou to my Dutch friend Nicky for translating this as something along the lines of “Now, Just Not Yet”) is one of those rare records where one doesn’t notice how much space it takes up so gently, until it’s finished and the silence that follows becomes really noticeable. Coming away from this EP does have that strange effect of coming back up from a trance (I speak from experience – Hypnotherapy a while back, didn’t do what it was supposed to do, made something else worse, but was eerily fun while it was going on) and wanting to dive straight back into that state all over again. It’s probably a bit odd to attempt to describe something so ethereal as this as “catchy”, but it certainly is, and is perfect for ending days both good and bad.
Really highly recommended, and available from Jezus Factory Records by clicking on this here colourful link. I suspect this may be a singular collaboration, but hope for more of the same in the future.