"Her sounds hang together like organs in a body, tightly wound and uncomfortably amorphous, each instrument at least partially digested, every tension unplaceable. Moving at a dreamlike pace while rarely rising above a whisper, Kee Avil has produced a debut of fiendish creativity filled with uniquely gentle terrors." - Bandcamp • ALBUM OF THE DAY
“The tension paints Kee Avil’s debut in a mesmerizing landscape.” - Bandcamp • ALBUMS OF THE YEAR 2022
“As if someone shattered a PJ Harvey record, then messed up while trying to glue it back together… balancing pop sensibilities with a keen ear for musical experimentation and resulting in an album whose musical explorations are as intriguing as its emotional impact… a stunning debut” - The Quietus
"Crease might be a debut album for Kee Avil, but it sounds mature and fully rounded, making you wonder where Mettler will take us next." - Echoes & Dust
“A tightly coiled, finely wrought vision of avant-pop.” - Exclaim! • Eight Emerging Artists You Need To Hear
“Yearning and searching… showcases experimenting with song structure that’s atypical and free from boundaries… [a] whiplash style of uninhibited exploration, songs come alive illuminating different moods in constantly shifting music.” - The Wire
"Mettler somehow balances extreme subtlety with production grandstanding, avoiding trickery for the sake of it, and instead jolting each song with elements that reinforce her craft smartly and soundly." - Boomkat • BIG RECOMMENDATION
“Austere and unyielding, these songs are never easy, never comforting, never what you anticipate, but there’s cruel beauty in them.” - Dusted
“Hypnotic furor, splintering rhythms, phantom layers of voice swirling like black smoke… Kee Avil’s debut record is a force.” - Foxy Digitalis
"The meticulous construction of the pieces manages to create the kind of atmospheres that find the listener looking over their shoulder or checking in the corners of rooms." - Freq
"Crease thrives when you are beguiled but curious" - Beats Per Minute
"When the music rises up to match the suggestions of the phantoms she outlines, the results can be breathtaking." - Treble
"Breathy, barely there vocals are layered over twitchy electroacoustic collages and spindly This Heat-style guitars. The spookiest moments recall Gazelle Twin, but Kee Avil’s avant-pop gestures are more careful, like a tarantula stepping tenderly over broken glass." - Dance The Mutation
Crease is the debut album by Kee Avil, a project led by Montréal producer and guitarist Vicky Mettler: a singular expression of fractured dream logic concretized in chiselled postpunk guitar, sinuous low-end electronics, a panoply of organic and digital samples creating alternately twitchy and propulsive rhythm, and the anxious intimacy of her finely wrought lyricism and vocals. Bound by an outstanding production sensibility throughout, Crease unfolds one oblique earworm hook after another, with compositional innovation anchored to an inscrutable and compelling voice across 10 songs of tremendous and imaginative sonic detail
Kee Avil brings a contemporary electroacoustic sensibility to bear on traditions and conventions of pop, postpunk, electronic and sound-art songwriting, where touchstones range from Scott Walker and Coil to Fiona Apple, (early) PJ Harvey and (later) Juana Molina to Eartheater, Pan Daijing and Smerz - or Grouper produced by Autechre. Her unconventional alloys also conjure the guitar-inflected deconstructions of Gastr del Sol and the crystalline micro-worlds of Bjork, Matmos and Rashad Becker. Crease is one of those debut records that excites a wide range of peerless references precisely because it's so compelling and convincing in its own idiosyncratic authority, originality and execution.
Each song on Crease is its own sculpture, meticulously assembled to resemble disassembly: “each of these worlds was built without consideration for the other; it felt impossible to me, once I would enter the atmosphere of a song, to try to start another until that idea was finished.” The album nonetheless unfolds in impressive holistic integration through a palette of textures and techniques deployed in recurring but continually refracted ways. Alongside her superb austere guitar work stitched into electro-industrial, dark-ambient and minimal-techno soundworlds, it’s her voice and lyrics - confidential, hermetic, implacable - that provide the galvanizing, always captivating through-line.
A burgeoning force in Montréal’s experimental music community, Mettler has played guitar in a variety of avant, noise and improv combos - including the most recent iteration of Sam Shalabi’s acclaimed Land Of Kush - and co-founded Concrete Sound Studio, a recording studio and multidisciplinary production space in Montreal, where she also curates and produces the online concert series Live in Concrete. A more compositional, exacting, (de)constructed musical identity was first unveiled with the self-titled Kee Avil EP issued by Black Bough Records in 2018 and further honed by pre-pandemic tours in Europe and North America sharing stages with Pere Ubu, Marc Ribot and Bill Orcutt among others. Woodshedding since then, Crease presents a quantum leap in Kee Avil's exploration of studio-based experimentation, arrangement and production, signaling the arrival of a brilliantly genre-melding, refined and assiduous new voice in avant-garde songcraft.
Deluxe 180gram vinyl edition pressed at Optimal (DE) comes in 350gsm jacket + 300gsm artworked inner both printed LE-UV on uncoated Arktika artboard + 12”x24” art print poster + DL card.
CD comes in custom mini-gatefold artboard jacket.
Songs by Kee Avil.
Cello on “Devil’s Sweet Tooth” by Mark Molnar.
Drum samples on “See, my shadow” by Eric Craven.
Produced by Kee Avil and Zachary Scholes.
Recorded and mixed by Zachary Scholes at Concrete Sound Studio in Montréal QC.
Mastered by Guy Hébert at Concrete Mastering in Montréal QC.
Artwork photography by Lawrence Fafard.
Mask by Ariane Paradis.