Release Date 03/29/2019
(Midnight Special) NACC
A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Michelle Blades reveals a discography infused with multiple sounds as an extension of her nomadic life spent between Panama, where she was born; Mexico, land of her mother’s family; Florida where she escaped from Manuel Noriega’s dictatorship, Arizona, where the young woman met Phoenix's underground and alternative culture and France to make up a music career spanning over ten years.
Shaping a multifaceted artistic universe
Michelle Blades gleans unique sounds from her journeys, experiences and environments she lives in. Her curiosity drove her to journalism, skateboarding, filmmaking and of course to music, all while linking a strong cultural heritage. She grew up to a family of salsa pioneers in Central America; her uncle Rubén is a monument of the genre, her father a producer and composer, her grandmother was a Cuban pianist and singer… but event if music is omnipresent in her genes, it’s at the age of 16 years old that she allowed herself to speak the universal language. She learned to play guitar, bass, drums, keys, learned to play with her voice and to create variations and personify some characters in song.Michelle Blades’ universe creates a unique perception mixed with high mastery of the instruments she plays and arranges for. Rigorous and creative, she manipulates her music, experiments and allows herself total freedom in her creation, making her art evolve with her ideas and her passion, blending intensity, precision and gentleness.
Inevitably, travel, her past, her ideals, questions on identity, interpersonal rapports are centerpieces in Blades' work. She confesses a predisposition to the 70s, a decade she perceives as a parallel to what we lives at this time: sexual liberation, feminism, racial and class struggles, an evolving society playing tug of war with the past generations, revolutionary ideas… many aspects that open possibilities and aesthetic to musicians. It makes one think of Frank Zappa and his completely free posture to creation, of David Byrne and his taste for deconstruction and social absurdity. She discovered this priceless freedom in Phoenix at 18 where she made friends with DIY culture. In 2010, she landed in France for the first time with a debut folk EP she would present al around the country. In 2012, Michelle Blades came back to the country where she met the Midnight Special Records family, a milestone in her career, working with and releasing all her material on the independent label thereafter. Composer, singer and director (« Retien mon désir » or « Château perdu » for CléaVincent), solo or with a band, her name and signature have started to circulate. Between 2015 and 2016 she released the album Ataraxia and two Eps: Nah See Ya and Polylust. By this time, she was playing bass with Fishbach all around the world and still finding her time to record the intimate EP Premature Love Songs. Michelle Blades’s new album Visitor will be out on March 29th, with Midnight Special Records.
Featuring such tracks such as “Ring,” “Kiss Me on the Mouth,” and “Politic!”, Michelle Blade’s Visitoris the product of several writing periods, a desire to create a coherent album, all while allowing every possibility for creative freedom. It was in this spirit that the prolific artist composed and wrote the 11 tracks of Visitor, which were then recorded during an intensive month of touring in which she accompanied Fishbach on bass.
Grounds for exploration and adventure
Michelle Blades crosses over boundaries of genre, combining the philosophy and practices of a Frank Zappa in her liberty of creation; of David Byrne and Mort Garson in terms of musical experimentation. Thus unclassifiable, and with indubitable ease, Michelle Blades satisfies her thirst for musical exploration by playing with texture, language tones, and wordplay, resulting in this intense, gracious ensemble. The themes that inspire the artist -such as time gone by, travel, soul-searching, or the complexities of a personality -are often drawn from elements of her own life spent between Panama, Mexico, Florida and France.The remainder takes form during the month of September 2017 atStudio Vega with Bertrand Fresel (Tony Allen, Katerine), an analogue recording on tape and mixing console similar to those used by Abbey Road Studios. The process requires more time and an implacable precision: “That’s when the album started making sense as such; that’s when I found the title. I started to formulate the concept, an idea that combines many different things,” explains Michelle Blades. She continues: “They are interpersonal songs, but it’s above all a conscious effort made for each musical texture. Nothing is left to chance, there is a lot of experimentation and freedom.” She acknowledges the enormous work undertaken by Victor Peynichou (bass, guitar), Alexandre Bourit (guitar), Marius Duflot (synth, piano, vibraphone, percussion), Pierre-Louis Vizioz (drums), Edouard Pons (piano, vibraphone), Daniel Hart (violin) and Manfred Kovacic (saxophone), who give the album an inimitable sound