In listening to the music of Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch, I find a certain kinship with her sentiments towards music as art. In a recent interview with Oh Comely, Emilie states “I realised that my love for the process was enough, and that I didn’t need some grand, innovative motive.” Letting the oft unpredictable process of creation unfold in it’s own way is becoming to me, the grand gesture behind my music. It’s also something that I notice immediately in other artists’ work, like Emilie’s. I am constantly seeking a willingness to accept that the unknown is where I want to be, searching for solace in a lack of answers. To delve as deep into the untraveled as I possibly can far surpasses any sort of pre-conceived stylistic notions that I may have before sitting down and making sound. Music at it’s best is about letting go. The pitches and tones are already there, hanging in the ether, the most any of us can do is pluck a few of them out of the air, add our personal colors and affects, and then move on.
I think Emilie and I are on a very similar page in regards to process and composition and it comes out in spots throughout her debut album Like Water Through The Sand, which is being released on 130701, Fat Cat’s recently relaunched Modern Classical imprint. At times I find the music on Like Water… to be cloying and a bit too obviously filmic. This makes sense considering Farrouch’s experience as a film composer, an arena in which sentimentality is the norm. Emilie also worked at Bleep.com, and trails of electronic influence from her time spent there come in and out of the music as well in exciting and intriguing ways and never in any way unnatural. Emilie is at her best when the sounds go deep and the modern classical tropes get ignored. Back to back mid album songs “Persephone” and “Scale of Volatility” do this for me. Less trying to score epic tear-jerking film scenes than other tracks, they are both the scene and the score in one. No visuals are needed. Sonic intimacy prevails and I get lost with each listen.
Having just coincidentally been turned onto the health benefits of Tulsi, or Holy basil, I was also taken aback to find a track simply called “Tulsi” on Like Water Through The Sand. Whether or not “Tulsi” refers to the Hindu legend surrounding the sacredness of the plant or Emilie simply enjoys taking it as a daily supplement, it’s one of my favorite tracks on the record. Full of plucked and slightly digitally processed strings cascading on top of cymbals and beautifully angular counterpoint from even more layers of plucked strings, “Tulsi” flows with a humble ease and an innate confidence. It doesn’t necessarily go anywhere, but It feels great and I find myself playing it over and over. It’s a crystal clear demonstration of Emilie’s skills as a classical composer who isn’t afraid of the digital realm. It’s also highly indicative of Emilie’s willingness to be one of the few modern artists trying to push music into the realm of holy art, just as Tulsi remains the most sacred of all the plants.
Return to Impose tomorrow when Levienaise-Farrouch reviews Anenon’s recently released Camembert EP.