- Most of the artwork for Cititrax, Minimal Wave's sub-label for contemporary music, is dark and erotic, if not a little morbid. Especially for Veronica Vasicka, a record's visual element is important. Vintage handcuffs, cut up Polaroids of '90s clubgoers, kinky photos "from the archives of Silent Servant"—these twisted but romantic images speak to the label's dark mix of techno, new wave and industrial. But on Cititrax's latest, Adieux Au Dancefloor, the label debut from Marie Davidson, there's a different kind of gateway visual: a simple but striking color photograph of the artist herself.
Davidson is a Montreal-based synth artist, poet, producer and—most importantly—one-woman show. On stage, she has a table full of machinery, but what's really enticing is what she does with her microphone. Davidson is a storyteller, and even if her spoken lyrics are abstract, half in French and half in English, it's easy to picture the scenes she paints. In the last few years, this vulnerable style has defined albums like Perte D'Identité and Un Autre Voyage, which explore moody soundscapes and upbeat sequences. Taking the latter approach further, Adieux Au Dancefloor is a confident entrance into club-centered tempos and grooves. Davidson told The FADER that the album, inspired by her European tour as half of the DFA duo Essaie Pas, stems from a "fascination for dance music and club culture as much as a disgust from it."
Adieux Au Dancefloor is not a collection of DJ tracks but a ride through one woman's style of engaging live performance. Throughout, tough machine sounds are layered in ways that give the whole thing a seductive, rough-cut groove. There are no standard techno knocks. Of course, Davidson's voice is also present, and the tracks where she takes center stage are among the most memorable. "I Dedicate My Life" is a manic synth jam graced with decrees of pride and defiance. "Naïve To The Bone" and "Good Vibes" spell out sensual stories of the heart with playfully domineering beats. On "La Femme Écarlate" and "Planète Ego," the mood turns dark, showing just how intensely cinematic Davidson can be.
The album also has distinct moments of pure machine jams. "Interfaces," with its bouncy thwacks and stumbling motion, is a flirtatious groover full complex rhythms. "Denial" is denser and trippier, with bright, hyperspeed synths that shoot out from a hypnotic core. On "Inferno," things take another dramatic dive into darkness, with drums ricocheting in a constricting atmosphere.
At the end of it all is the title track, which, after such wild moods and stark machinery, comes as a shock. "Adieux Au Dancefloor" is a smooth and wistful synth pop song that shows Davidson, for the first time, actually singing, and it's beautiful. In the background, soft crowd chatter can be heard, like a theatrical cue that the show's over. You can imagine the velvet curtains drawing to a close. It's a charming end to an album that puts this artist's very personal craft in the spotlight, from the lyrics right through to the cover art.
01. I Dedicate My Life
03. Naïve To The Bone
05. La Femme Écarlate
06. Good Vibes (Mocking Birds)
08. Planète Ego
09. Adieux Au Dancefloor