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Baker's Dozen

An Exchange Of Feelings: Felicia Atkinson’s Baker’s Dozen
Alex Rigotti , August 17th, 2022 09:32

Soon to play at Portugal’s Semibreve Festival with Violeta Azevado, Felicia Atkinson guides Alex Rigotti through thirteen eclectic albums that have informed her musical practise the most

Photo by Shelter Press

Throughout her career, Felicia Atkinson has peppered hints of her favourite music through various interviews and DJ sets, where songs from this Baker’s Dozen routinely appear. Speaking from Normandy, where she’s settled with husband Bartolomé Sanson and her son, Ivanhoe, it’s now that they’re meditated on in detail for the first time.

Much like herself, the albums she has selected are nomadic, wandering through different parts of the globe and reflecting her own journey in the world. Born in 1981, to a Polish mother and a French father with British ancestry from her grandfather, Atkinson’s mother worked as a librarian at the National Library. This exposed Atkinson to international music and a globalist perspective from a young age.

Though she dabbled in Nirvana, The Beatles, and Miles Davis as a teen, she only began really listening to music in her twenties, around the time she started seriously considering a career as a musician: “All the artists I chose, there is something about the way they live, or how they use music to show ways to live your life in general that interests me a lot, because there is an ethic in it.”

That lifestyle is introspective and interdisciplinary, which permeates Atkinson’s work inside and outside of music. Along with her husband, Atkinson runs Shelter Press, a publishing house and label that celebrates the intersection of art, poetry, and music, often of an uncompromisingly experimental or avant-garde nature.

Atkinson herself is no exception; she has carried the torch for experimental ambient music since her first release as Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, 2012’s An Age Of Wonder. Her most recent album, Image Langage, combines spectral soundscapes with whispery spoken word. They reflect the stories of 20th century female artists concerned with the domestic: Georgia O’Keefe, Agnes Martin, Sylvia Plath.

Atkinson is also interested in the relationships formed between fellow artists, reflected in the astounding number of collaborations she has coming up. She’s due to return to Semibreve Festival this year with flautist Violeta Azevedo. She’s also got separate collaborations with multidisciplinary visual artist Florence To and legendary field recorder and former Cabaret Voltaire member, Chris Watson, on top of playing a solo tour.

But above all, Atkinson puts heart and soul at the centre of her creative process. It’s what centres many of the albums in this list, too. “I tried to stay emotional and sincere,” she tells me. “They’re records I have a close relationship to – but at the same time, I don’t know so much about them. It’s more that I listen to them and even when I don’t, they have an impact on myself.”

Felicia Atkinson (with Violeta Azevado) plays Semibreve festival in Braga, Portugal in October. To begin reading her Baker's Dozen, click the portrait below