Parisian producer-singer Andrea Balency made a statement with her latest release that should not be ignored. Balency has been putting out music since around 2014, and although she has showcased a raw talent in her scatter of singles and EPs, her souring sound often resulted in disappointment. The generic, overworked album covers illustrate well the issues with Balency’s music. It took itself too seriously and seemed solely interested in music as a commercial venture, marketed to overly sentimental teenagers.
For some strange reason, I’ve been following Balency for a while now. What I’ve found is an impressive trend. In 2014 she released her worst work, a sort of Flume knockoff, less sure of what it wanted to do and shabby, it did not garner much attention. Next was the Volcano EP in 2015. Volcano contained shades of her potential. A good example of this comes on Waterfalls, which despite containing beautiful moments, goes over the top in the final minute of the song and overshadows itself. Just after that release things got interesting with the single Simone. Despite its flaws, the track succeeded by embracing its cheesiness, it didn’t try to hide as much and showcased Balency’s evident talent as a vocalist. She then took a 3 year hiatus, appearing only on Mount Kimbie’s excellent Love What Survives. Despite showing all this promise, Balency’s career was for the most part quite lackluster, which made it extremely shocking to see her on the track-listing among such giants as King Krule and James Blake.
After her release of the single Around and Back and Around a few weeks ago, I am puzzled no more. Balency has reinvented herself. In a blog post she said that making the record, “made me feel like I went back to square one, in a good way.” This marks her first time making music on her own. She crafts an intoxicating exploration of human needs using only the cello, her voice, and the occasional help from drummer Marc Pell (Suitman Jungle). The piece forces the two instruments most like the human voice into a confined space and twists the two around each other resulting in an interesting exploration on the relationship between harmony and desperation.
In the nine minutes this thing takes to listen to, Balency takes you on an adventure, albeit a small one, that fundamentally changes her status as an artist. The effect that shedding the overabundance of producers leering over her creative process has had on her music is a clear indicator of the success she can achieve in the future. In her blog post, it was made clear that more would be coming out this year, and after this understated experiment, we should all be very excited.
– James Ford