AN LAURENCE 安媛

new music ~ performance ~ multimedia

Tiohtià:ke/Montreal

contact[a]
an-laurence[dot]ca

IG: an_laurence_

ALMOST TOUCHING

debut album

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~ introduction ~

"Almost Touching" brings together pieces for guitar, voice and electronics from contemporary composers all addressing in their own ways desire, the pursuit of an emotion, an unknown eluding our senses, escaping us in perpetually morphing.

Inspired by insomnia, dreams and desires, memories decay, the impossibility to reconcile different parts of the self, or by the nebulous quest for a feeling of belonging, the pieces meticulously assembled and commissioned form an album that is both dreamlike and destabilizing. The pieces from the album were composed by Amy Brandon, Kim Farris-Manning, Elischa Kaminer, Shelley Marwood and Arthur Keegan-Bole.

"Much of An Laurence 安媛's debut recording, Almost Touching‘s generous duration is spent exploring the border between complete vulnerability and unbridled power through a series of unique solo works for guitar, voice, and electronics by a diverse array of living composers. Spanning surreal, dream-like montages to works, to audacious leaps between disparate sonic worlds found on Elischa Kaminer’s Chants d’amour this is a compelling and personal statement from the multifaceted Tiohtià:ke/ Montréal-based-performer." Nick Storring, Riparian Media

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~ booklet : poem on cover ~

FR

Il fait complètement noir. Mes sens sont engourdis.
Aux frontières de mon champ de vision,
une lueur fuit mon regard.
Si je tourne la tête assez rapidement, j'arrive à l'aperçevoir.
Elle se transforme à chaque fois que je
suis sur le point de la comprendre.

Je tends la main, elle disparaît.
Il fait complètement noir.
Je peux sentir sa présence derrière mon dos.

EN translation

It's completely dark. My senses are numb.
Aux frontières de mon champ de vision,
une lueur fuit mon regard.
Si je tourne la tête assez rapidement, j'arrive à l'aperçevoir.
Elle se transforme à chaque fois que je
suis sur le point de la comprendre.

Je tends la main, elle disparaît.
Il fait complètement noir.
Je peux sentir sa présence derrière mon dos.

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ARTIFICIAL LIGHT

composed by Amy Brandon

note from Amy

Artificial Light for guitar and fixed media was written as part of an album called Scavenger, released in 2016. Intended to evoke a feeling of alienation or distance from a point of origin, the acousmatic component is made from digitally manipulated recordings of the composer's previous live performances of the same work.

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ALMOST TOUCHING

composed by Kim Farris-Manning, poem by Joël Pourbaix

FR

« On ne naît jamais chez soi.
dis-moi qui dis-moi qui dis-moi qui
Ne plus savoir d'où l'on vient
donne envie d'aller quelque part.
L'indéracinable ruse de la chair,
de quoi témoigne-t-elle ? »

EN translation (by An Laurence)

"We are never born home
tell me who tell me who tell me who
Not knowing where we're from anymore
makes us want to go somewhere else
The ineradicable cunning of the flesh,
what is it testifying?"

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CHANTS D'AMOUR

composed by Elischa Kaminer, texts by Elischa Kaminer & An Laurence

→ read "tunnel"
→ read "nuit" 1, 2, 3, 4
→ watch music video

A moment later, I remember the baby tigers had turned to rocks, the wound and your eye sockets were still purple and you left for the bridge.

A 60-minute musical-poetic dream-like piece for guitar and electronics, CHANTS D’AMOUR is a collection of songs about what happened that one night, by the river, past the tunnel. Through communal rehearsals, singing, playing and recording it celebrates, searches for and mourns the lost threads, leading to our oldest memories and beginnings of desire.

"Chants d'amour" was commissionned in 2021 thanks to No Hay Banda.

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RECONCILING DUALITY

composed by Shelley Marwood

note from Shelley

"Reconciling Duality explores various incarnations of contrasting elements, such as emotions (anger/frustration vs. vulnerability), textures (aggressively loud tremolo chords vs. isolated and delicate notes), and even the notation of the score itself (traditional notation vs. free rhythm/meter vs. improvisation).

When confronted with opposing ideas one often attempts to find a balance between them; sometimes this is achieved through compromise, or assimilation, but occasionally one is required to acknowledge that a blending is not possible - that the elements must remain separat entities, coexisting in a perpetual truce, while hopefully eventually discovering the beauty of such diversity."

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NOCTURNE

composed by Arthur Keegan-Bole

note from Arthur

"This night music is indebted to the Greenwich Time Signal 'pips' (six sine tone beeps that mark every hour on BBC radio) and the shipping forecast which is heard throughout the day but which is extended for the BBC Radio4 nocturnal broadcasts at 12:45am and 5:45am.

The unique language of the shipping forecast (an abstract, strangely poetic weather forecast for the UK’s shores) has a firm place in the British cultural landscape and has been referred to as a “secular prayer” (Katy Guest). It is the subject or referred to in British poetry (notably Seamus Heaney and Carol Ann Duffy), as well as music and other writings. I find listening to it deeply and pleasurably sedative. For a time, dozing through its elements was a nightly ritual I enjoyed and that helped me deal with mild insomnia. At night time it is followed by the pips marking the passing of time with gentle precision

My thanks go to Tom Torrisi who had a huge part to play in creating this music. His hard work was only matched by his patience!"

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~ thanks + credits ~

The idea of recording an album started to take form in 2019, as I wanted to promote contemporary pieces for my instrument that deeply impacted me in the previous few years by their emotionnal effects and aesthetics. I soon realized these works shared similarities in the ideas they express; the chase of the elusive.

I deeply thank everyone who supported this first, quite important album project, from the brainstorming stage to CD pressing, from grant writing to celebration. I feel truly grateful and moved to be surrounded by such generous and talented colleagues and friends.

My first thanks go to the composers of the pieces featured in the album: Amy Brandon, Kim Farris-Manning, Shelley Marwood and Arthur Keegan-Bole for their patience and for sharing their excitement throughout these last few years. Special thanks go to Elischa Kaminer, who accepted the commission to compose “Chants d’amour”, and who did so with such care and passion despite the ocean-wide distance between us. I thank the composer of the hidden track (shhhh!), whose piece had a striking, long-lasting effect on me the first time I heard it in the basement of a café.

Thanks to No Hay Banda (Daniel Añez, Noam Bierstone, Geneviève Liboiron) for inviting me to play in their series, allowing me to commission Elischa.

Thanks to Stéphane Claude for recording the tracks, and mixing/mastering all except “Chants d’amour”. Thanks to Queer Ear Mastering for the mastering of “Chants d’amour”.

Thanks to people | places | records (Andrew Noseworthy, Aaeryn Santillan) for allowing this project on their awesome label, and their heart-warming enthusiasm throughout the whole process.

cover / promo ~
Thanks to Valaquia Studio (Laura Criollo, Carlos Riobo) for the epic photographs/art direction, the one and only Brit Phatal for make-up and hair dressing, the inventive Kei for hair colour and cut, and Le Lin 林樂 for the very on point graphic design. Special thanks to Corinne Beaumier who helped me brainstorm fashion/clothing and made me discover the wonders of Pinterest boards.

mini launch tour ~
Thanks to Elischa and Kim who agreed to be my touring buddies for the mini-launch tour, and to Yang Chen and Emily Shaw for joining us in their home cities. Thanks to the venues who hosted us, the Red Bird Live in Ottawa and the Tranzac in Toronto, and to Innovations en concert (Isak Goldschneider) for the eagerness to present the show in Montreal at La Sala Rosa.

Finally, I’d like to thank everyone who ever read my grant writings, offered me an opportunity, a word of encouragement, a compliment, or advices on how to navigate the ?*!*&$#% legal and financial matters of artistic production.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart go to ♡Orphée Russell and ♡Kim Farris-Manning who supported me almost every single day during the production of this album, in my (overwhelming) highs and (mildly rock-bottom) lows.

                CREDITS
                
                guitar, voice, production by An Laurence 安媛
                recording, mixing, mastering by Stéphane Claude
                recorded at Oboro, Montréal in January 2022
                released on people | places | records
                
                “Almost Touching (asymptote)” poem by Joël Pourbaix
                “Chants d’amour” mixing by Elischa Kaminer, mastering by Queer Ear Mastering
                “Chants d’amour” was commissioned by No Hay Banda
                
                booklet art by An Laurence 安媛
                graphic design by Le Lin 林樂
                photographs, art direction by Valaquia Studio
                make-up, hairstyling by Brit Phatal
                haircut, hair colour by Kei
                
                promotion by Riparian Media
                
                mini launch tour: with Elischa Kaminer + Kim Farris-Manning
                + Emily Shaw in Ottawa, + Yang Chen in Toronto
                Red Bird Live, Ottawa
                Tranzac, Toronto
                Sala Rosa, Montréal - presented by Innovations en concert
    
                This album project received funding from the Canada Council for the Arts.
            

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