Marie Davidson & l’Œil Nu return with ‘Persona’ a brand new three-part single and video, released 24 August 2021 on Ninja Tune, with a run of forthcoming live-performances also announced. Alongside this is news that the original trio of Marie Davidson, Pierre Guerineau, Asaël R. Robitaille are now joined by close-friend and long-time collaborator, composer and producer Jesse Osborne-Lanthier (raster-noton, Haunter Records, Éditions Appærent)—who co-produced and performed additional vocals and sound design on their ‘Renegade Breakdown’ album—to play percussions, synths and electronics on the new track.
Marie Davidson & l’Œil Nu’s ‘Persona’ is a play on the concepts originally attributed to the Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung, which are used to describe the roles we play in order to adapt and fit in to the environment or society around us, often at the expense of being our authentic selves. Alongside the lyrics—sung entirely in French—the band present three distinct ‘faces’ to the record, “one electronic, one fully guitar oriented and one that can be played in loop, for drifting away,” they explain. “We had a lot of fun recording this music and we hope you’ll enjoy.”
Alongside this comes an official video, made up of the band's own footage, which follows them over the course of an imagined day spent travelling, relaxing and playing shows. As the band explain it, “we wanted to play with the idea of counterpoint to the Jungian persona archetype ("the mask we wear to make a definite impression upon others and conceal the true nature of the individual") referenced in the lyrics, we didn’t want a sophisticated and expensive HD music video depicting us as glamorous artists evolving with nonchalance in a highly controlled environment. But rather we wanted to offer a simple and honest document, shot ourselves with our phones, showing us as individuals, friends, musicians, in our daily lives, à l’envers du décor.”
The release follows a run of recent remixes from Tim Hecker, Young Marco, Jessy Lanza, Jlin and Morgan Geist, with tracks all taken from their ‘Renegade Breakdown’ album project, released last year on Ninja Tune. That record—a bold reimagining of Marie Davidson’s sound—was praised widely by the likes of The Guardian, Pitchfork and The New Yorker, with Bandcamp listing it as one of their “Best Albums of Summer” and additional support from FADER, Billboard, DAZED, Vulture, NME and many more. This followed Marie’s previous solo album, 2018’s acclaimed ‘Working Class Woman’—which was also accompanied by a series of curated remixes from Nina Kraviz, John Talabot, Afrodeutsche, Silent Servant and including a notable, Grammy-nominated Soulwax remix of ‘Work It’, which would go on to become a bonafide dance anthem that still receives heavy rotation both on and off the turntables to this day
Following an incredible debut livestream for 'Renegade Breakdown Live'—shot and directed by experimental Quebecois filmmaker Denis Côté, and described by NME as “less a livestream gig, more a musical rebirth” in their 4/5 review. The group will be heading out on tour later this year across the UK, EU and Canada, including a headline show at London’s Village Underground in November.
Ahead of this they will also take part in Berlin’s online PopKultur Festival, which takes place this week and will feature a performance from the band entitled ‘Persona & Other Fiends’. Midway between a live-performance and a music video, ‘Persona & Other Fiends’ is a musical and visual triptych of 3 songs: “Persona”, “Center of the World (Kotti Blues)”, and “Renegade Breakdown”, directed by Clara L'Heureux-Garcia and filmed at Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango recording studio in Montreal. In keeping with the themes of the single, this hybrid document will explore in an intimate and performative manner the relation between stage and image of Marie Davidson & L’Œil Nu.
Like so many others, this came like a bolt out of the blue and, even though it's well before payday, I had to have this astonishing album on vinyl to prove it exists. The feel of the tunes makes me feel like the Impressions do, Curtis Mayfield, the big spaces and instinctive horns and stuff drifting in and out. Great grooves and I can see lots of ghosts nodding along to this with big smiles on their faces. At last! Anthony Cottrell