Felicia Atkinson – La La La – CD – Spekk

www.spekk.net 

One of a clutch of three new releases from Japan’s highly influential Spekk label, Felicia Atkinson is a name, that I must confess remains unknown to me at this time. The interestingly named “la la la” simultaneously shocks and delights me as it opens with a swathe of acoustic guitar, and a voice that resembles somebody like Suzanne Vega, or any one of a number of new American female rock/pop artists. Atkinson’s works are complex, dreamy, layered, and deeply personal affairs, at times quirky and almost child-like in the simplicity of execution, at other times, slightly otherworldly and disturbing…full of revolving doors, distorted mirrors, and spectral presences. After several listens, I’m still not sure whether I actually LIKE Atkinson’s work, although further self analysis reveals that perhaps this is coloured by my expectations of Spekk as a label, rather than taking the pieces on their own merit. Much of the work reminds me of the sonic equivalent of Outsider Art, highly personal, almost folksy renditions, borne out of the camp fire tradition, but twisted and buckled into a niche of the artist’s own making.

Subsequent listenings DO however demonstrate that Spekk are willing to extend the remit of their roster into more challenging territory, and Atkinson’s oblique and distorted ballads carry with them some of the characteristics of some of the Jap pop artists, and I can see it being well received in that part of the world. With input and editing from Sylvain Chauveau, however, this album comes with high credentials and high expectations, perhaps taking folk electronica into a new territory. The jury is still out on this one, but perhaps that is the whole point of “la la la”? Perhaps Felicia Atkinson’s world simultaneously beckons as it challenges our sensibilities? Make up your own mind..well worth a listen. BGN.

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About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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