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The Call of a Siren: Delhia de France’s "Suavium"

Published May 27 2014. Photo by Marcel Koehler.

  by Sabrina

In a hypnotizing mix of emotional vocals, pulsating rhythms, and experimental electroacoustic sound, Delhia de France delivers an enigmatic concept album that both challenges the mind and captures the listener with its complex beauty in her latest release Suavium, the first of a three part concept audiovisual EP album trilogy. Lovers of Delhia de France’s haunting voice and intertwining of soft pop and synthesis will find this latest offering strangely satisfying. Newcomers to her style will soon be ensnared by the siren’s impassioned calls.

The opening song "Holy Ghost" presents just a tantalizing taste of the mystical journey to come with a frighteningly fantastical sonic landscape gently massaged by eerie melodies and vocalizations, and while the more radio-friendly "Share a Breath" is short of remarkable save a much too short instrumental harp break by Julia Pritz, sophisticated listeners who crave the electronic uniqueness and sensual voice that is Delhia de France will find their hunger sated by "The Book" and the rhythmically jarring "Unconcealeable".

Throughout Suavium, Delhia de France gently balances between an almost impalpable sensitivity in vocal choice and electronica, occasionally delving wholeheartedly into more recognized musical mainstream stylistic forms. It is this ability to successfully choose between the otherworldly and the familiar that makes Suavium an intriguing listen. There are more than a few musical surprises within the album, though subtlety, repetition, and nuance seem the primary mode. As if waving farewell to the sojourners who have travelled this venture with her, Suavium ends with the simple pure vocal layering in "Boy & The Sea", a final sublime musical gesture.

Suavium is the first of a three part audiovisual series incorporating visual artists in various media forms like video, sculpture, animation, and illustration. Each visual work echoes the key themes of human body aesthetics and physical affection, “deconstructing” the physical body and altering its familiar form as one creates new works of art through paint upon a blank canvas or by molding clay. As such, the abstract music video for "Share a Breath" is meant to compliment Delhia de France’s sounds like a fine wine heightens the savors of exquisite cuisine. While the ever-morphing bodies intertwined in lovemaking in the music video perhaps embody the sensual mystery heard throughout the album and match in intensity, in the end the quickly repetitive shadowy imagery only detracts from the music and falls short of fine art, landing in the realm of teasing eye candy and overused lighting effects. Hopefully future audiovisual components in this series will exhibit the creative artistic maturity that is clearly the tour de force of Delhia de France and pay attention to the nuance and intricacy in the music. Yet the overall concept may simply need to evolve with the upcoming Basium and Osculum albums.

Deriving the title Suavium roughly from the Latin for “kiss of love”, what the artist describes as a symbol of the manifestation of physical affection and respect, Delhia de France’s work clearly is a love message to her fans. The delicate intricacy and intimate touch of the harp and subtle electronic gesture intoxicates the listener, immersing them in a universe that is uniquely Delhia de France.

Suavium was released on Lebensfreude Rec. on May 27, 2014.