Cécile Seraud is an accomplished musician who has studied classical guitar since the age of five. But a few years ago, she realized a lifelong dream by acquiring a piano, then diving into her new instrument. The French guitarist described it as "love at first sight" and noticed that piano experimentation seemed to unlock something inside of her. Seraud began to play nonstop, sometimes in the middle of the night, composing dreamlike melodies rooted in classical technique but made truly her own. These are the songs that make up her debut album, Shoden, which feels like an intimate peek into the mind of a musician exploring a new passion.
Based in Brittany, Seraud's playing captures the icy coast and frozen north, as seen on the album art. The atmospheres of the ten tracks are melancholic for the most part, but moments of warmth emanate through as well. The three self-titled Shoden tracks spread throughout the album best exemplify this warmth, the third of which even invites strings to join Seraud's beautiful piano performance. These moments are highlights, undoubtedly, but the album's climax is found on Tendresses, when Seraud builds a minor-key melody up to a crescendo before stripping the song back into a space more spare and lonely. Though the piano is relatively new to her, Seraud expertly navigates these disparate atmospheres expertly with the production aid of composer Sylvain Texier. Shoden is out this Friday, and you can purchase it through the artist's Bandcamp page. Don't miss this one. Below, you can find the album's closing track available to preview.