Kee Avil - Spine


Format: Vinyl
Rel. Date: 05/03/2024
UPC: 666561017811

Artist: Kee Avil
Format: Vinyl


1. Felt
2. The Iris Dry
3. Remember Me
4. Do This Again
5. Fading
6. Gelatin
7. Showed You
8. At His Hands
9. Croak
10. Under

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The follow-up to Kee Avil's acclaimed 2022 debut Crease: "A stunning debut" (TheQuietus); "A whiplash style of uninhibited exploration" (The Wire); "Kee Avil's debut is aforce" (Foxy Digitalis); "A work of Frankensteinian wonder" (Electronic Sound); "A tightlycoiled, finely wrought vision of avant-pop" (Exclaim); "A debut of fiendish creativity"(Bandcamp Album Of The Day / Albums Of The Year)Kee Avil's music is both adventurous and intimate, intellectually challenging andemotionally resonant. The Montréal guitarist and producer's 2022 debut LP Creasegarnered plaudits from outlets like The Wire, The Quietus, Mojo and Foxy Digitalis, pickingup a Canadian Juno Award nomination and Bandcamp Album Of The Day and Albums OfThe Year along the way. It's intricate construction, unnerving atmospheres, and knife-edgetake on avant-pop prompted comparisons to early PJ Harvey, This Heat, and Gazelle Twin.A remix EP with work by claire rousay, Ami Dang, Cecile Believe, and Pelada broughtcollaborative perspectives to four Crease tracks, offering new pathways within those songs.With Spine, Kee Avil strips back her heavily textured compositions, opening up a muchrawer sound. She calls it folk-and while traditionalists might scoff, this is urgent musicthat reflects the precarity of modern life, as well as the jarring mixture of electronic andreal-world interactions that have become the fabric of our day-to-day experiences.There's a hypnotic post-punk somnambulance to it all, using the repetition and fracturingof melodic phrases interwoven with delicate electronics to create curious and persistenthooks. While not a concept album, themes of time's passage, remembrance, and decaycrop up across multiple tracks. Each track intentionally only has four elements-guitar,electronics, and two other instruments, with Kee's voice and guitar pushed to the front.Within this minimalist framework, the juxtaposition of beauty and discomfort that is keyto the Kee Avil sound stands out in skin-prickling relief. "We're shaped by many versionsof ourselves," says Avil. "I was looking back at these versions of myself and what couldhave been, what didn't end up being and what did end up being, and going back like thatthrough time. Seeing the future, the past."Spine was written in Kee Avil's home studio after a lapse in writing while touring Creaseand working on other projects. She is a well-known and respected member of the Montréalexperimental scene, and formerly ran Concrete Sound Studio with Zach Scholes, whocontinues to work with her as a producer on Spine. Compared to the three years that wentinto making her debut, Spine emerged in a matter of months-a process that may also be afactor in it's intensity and sharpness: "This record was much harder, like it was reallydiscovering everything from scratch." In her desire to not simply replicate or extend thesound of Crease, she felt she had to rip up the rule book, write in a different way, and pareback songs against her usual instincts.Sometimes, when we work against our ingrained habits, we get to the core of who we reallyare. Spine is an exercise in that process. Without over-intellectualizing or being didactic,it hits immediately and emotionally, especially if you are a person who has spent muchtime in the process of self-examination. Kee's voice hisses, whispers, and chants; her guitarbends and rings; electronics skitter and crackle; violin creaks like a door in the wind. Thereis something so evocative about the atmospheres she creates that it's easy to overlay one'sown feelings onto her work, but to do that wholly would be to overlook one of the mostimportant things about Spine: Kee Avil's clear and thoughtful vision. This isn't just the nextstep forward in her artistic trajectory; it's a stunner of a record that stands on it's own, abracing and thrilling listen that has much to reveal about the contradictions inherent inbeing human. - jj skolnik