MONTREAL’S Constellation, who’ve brought us so many great leftfield moments these past two decades from Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Fly Pan Am, Do Make Say Think and a host of others, have added another string to their bow with the signing of Kee Avil, the new project from hometown singer, guitarist and producer Vicky Mettler.
Step this way and enter the strange and bewitching world of this new project; it’s a nocturnal post-folk, a ritualistic, breathy chant, which seems to take and invert some of the carefree, nature child wonder of the beautiful Maarja Nuut and drag that avant pastoralism down into the underworld and towards the ink-black of Gazelle Twin.
Vicky is also a member of Sam Shalabi’s acclaimed Land Of Kush project, which mixes it up in a free jazz, Arabic classical, postpunk and pan-global folk fashion; she’s also played in several other experimental, improv and noise ensembles.
But Kee Avil is the main thrust of her creative explorations these days, as she explains: “Songwriting, to me, is like sculpting. It stems from an initial word, emotion or sound, which I then build on, moulding it into a more refined shape, glued into an artificial structure. Other times, my role is to peel it, scrape at its exterior, to reveal its natural state and its part within the whole.
“I’m led by these initial ideas; not to polish but to translate abstraction into sound and imagery. This process of decoding can be tedious; other times it’s immediate, each idea giving birth to another, together building their own cohesion. I like raw, tumbling sculptures, sometimes held together by nothing more than intent.”
More specifically regarding this first aural reveal, she continues: “A shadow’s moment, distorted. Warped piano samples, chipped ceramic cups, swirling metal, feedback assembled.
“I used to think this was a love song. Constructed from a demo, never finished, originally recorded for the Kee Avil EP. “See, my shadow” is one of my most produced songs – a large part of the work was to strip it down and find the right balance between chaos and density vs stability and drive. It will be the first song on a new album.
“Writing this I find myself trying to find a reason why I would ‘stand here blind, deaf and mute’ – ultimately the words are there for their rhythm, imagery and texture.
“The text for the ending was written in one moment, intense but fleeting, later adapted. The meaning of the song changes all the time – fittingly, it’s as though this moment has been passed on to my shadow.”