You Can Can is an echoed affirmation, an album which traces song forms around silence, field recordings, and degraded analog memories. This is folk music transmogrified and mutated, as if recorded and reconstructed in Pierre Schaffer’s GRM studio.
Not your typical Mariposa folk duo, the group is comprised of Toronto avant-music scene stalwarts, vocalist Felicity Williams (Bernice, Bahamas) and bricolage artist and synthesist Andrew Zukerman (Fleshtone Aura, Badge Epoch). The album feels like a somnambulant conversation, fragmented and half-remembered with Williams’ vocals traveling through a landscape of field recordings and Zukerman’s saturated concrète topographies. It is an electro-acoustic assemblage, both analog and digital, comprised of air, electricity, minerals, wood, and water. Although the album nods towards traditional forms of folk and musique concrète (if at this point it can be called a traditional form), it is outwardly and inwardly contemporary; non-linear, citational, opaque, and sui generis. In a way it feels like a sonic index of the narrative experiments found on the infamous Language school-related publisher The Figures, in the work of Lyn Hejinian, Clark Coolidge, and Lydia Davis. In the musical continuum, the album picks up where Linda Perhacs left off in the early 70’s—explored by Gastr Del Sol in the ‘90s—a convergence of rural acoustic idioms and urban avant-electronics. This is country music for the discerning cosmopolitan citizen of the 21st Century.
RIYL: Luc Ferrari, Brannten Schnüre, William Basinski, Oval, Eric Chenaux, Emmanuelle Parrenin About Everything In Time and Failure Figures, Felicity Williams says:
Everything In Time is indebted to the language of Brazilian author Clarice Lispector (as translated by Alison Entrekin). Drawing on insights from psychoanalysis, we trace the roots of melancholy to render them available to consciousness; words from the ghostly realm of the transpersonal filter through dreams and shine a beam of light onto a lone trillium in a forest at night. Other influences include the experience of not knowing, of being subject to a gestation outside of one’s control. This is an ode to the power of naming to obliterate, to set free.
Failure Figures is a meditation on the radical contingency of reality and the vicissitudes of the will. With Slavoj Zizek as my guide (think: “Hegel for dummies” - I’m the dummy in this scenario), I wander through the valley of the shadow of death, and take heart. The last verse refers to an experience I had recording at a studio in Brussels. I was singing in French, with which I have some fluency, and the producer was complaining to the artist whose song it was that my delivery was not convincing. Thinking I was out of ear shot, he said in French, “c’est comme elle n'est pas là”; I was pronouncing the words correctly, but I failed to express anything. So what or whom is responsible for conveying meaning, if not the form of the word itself? And if the connection between meaning and form is broken, how do we fix it?
Gratitude to Thom Gill (guitar) and Daniel Fortin (bass) who joined us on the recording of Failure Figures. Thanks as well to my old roommate Christopher Willes, who unwittingly left behind his hand bells deep in the hall closet. We unearthed them by accident, and the bells became an important sound element. Thanks to other past roomies Robin Dann and Claire Harvie, whose childhood piano and guitar respectively still reside with us, and were used in the recording. Field recordings were made in Toronto, Canada and Celestún, Mexico in 2020.