Ladies and gentlemen; introducing ‘MA‘ by Ariane Moffatt. The acclaimed Quebec songbird is reinventing herself on her fourth album, delving into uncharted electro-pop territory and reaches new heights with the boldest, brightest songs of her career.
MA is, in a way, her most personal work. The title comes from the Japanese concept of the ma, which refers to a sensorial experience of negative space or downtime – not as something that separates but rather something than unites. Finding that quiet place allowed her to make an album that is both totally centered and wildly adventurous.
Written, performed and produced by Moffatt herself, in her creative space and at Montreal’s Hotel2tango studio (Arcade Fire, Barr Brothers, Handsome Furs), MA was made with help from Pierre Girard, who acted as sound technician and assisted with production and mixing.
Working both in French and in English felt natural for Moffatt, who lives in Montreal’s diverse Mile End neighborhood. She has dabbled in the language before; but by recording more than half her new album in English, she positions herself in the ma between her city’s two dominant cultures. And she sounds equally at home in each.
Musically, she has always been eclectic – an intimate singer-songwriter with a range spanning from folk to trip-hop, rock and reggae – but she has never sounded quite like this. MA finds Moffatt busting loose, coming out of her shell as she fearlessly expands the parameters of her artistic identity.
The album opener Walls Of the World combines a hypnotic bass line and breathy vocals into a sultry groove that is somewhere between The Pretenders, The Cardigans and Julee Cruise. In Your Body evokes Goldfrapp meets the B-52s with its shuffle-step beat, jazzy synth stabs and sassy lyrics about « running around naked on your roof. »
A dreamy synthscape provides the foundation for L’hotel Amour, an ethereal tune about an imaginary crash pad. Too Late uses steel drums to lift a driving electro ode to love, loss and regret.
« Oh, I miss Paris, pornography, your charge on me, » she whispers, emitting raw sensuality. La pluie et le beau temps is a lush robo-hymn, Auto-Tuned to blissful perfection, that makes a convincing case for talking about the weather. She goes acoustic on Artifacts, a breathtaking ballad about the things we leave behind; and closes with Sourire sincère, a frenzied, Philip Glass-inspired number that tries to reclaim something lost, which was hers all along.
That feeling pervades MA, as Moffatt takes all kinds of chances while sounding every bit in her element. This is her most ambitious and international album, a burst of unbridled creativity from an artist at one with her vibrant extremes.
Mon Corps Video
Directed by Iouri-Philippe Paillé, the video for Mon Corps is inspired by science-fiction movies from the late 70′s early 80′s. An astronaut going through a space program undergoes many different physical tests. Anticipating his interstellar trip, he feels the cosmos, represented by Ariane Moffatt floating in this poetic, dark and mysterious universe.