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Cathedral City is the debut album from acclaimed chamber-rock quintet Victoire. The record features eight compositions by Victoire founder/composer/performer Missy Mazzoli as well as guest appearances from Bryce Dessner of The National, composer/bassist Florent Ghys, composer/performer William Brittelle and versatile vocalist Mellissa Hughes.
Mazzoli founded Victoire in 2007 and the ensemble of Brooklyn-based, classically-trained women has proven to be the perfect vehicle for her distinctive blend of post-rock dreamscapes and quirky minimalism. Deemed “one of the most surprising composers now working in New York” by The New York Times and “Brooklyn’s Post-Pesky Whipper-Snapper Mozart” by Time Out New York, Missy fuses lo-fi electronics, keyboards, strings and winds into works that are extraordinarily complex yet delicately beautiful.
With each listen, Cathedral City‘s enigmatic mix of both the unexpected and familiar reveals itself differently and with new emotion. The album opens with gentle keyboards pulsing against sweetly soaring clarinet and strings, downward double bass slides and heady moments of discord on ”A Door into the Dark.” Later, Melissa Hughes’ angelic vocals float over dance floor-ready beats on title track “Cathedral City,” and Bryce Dessner provides rich electric guitar to ”A Song for Mick Kelly.” On ”A Song for Arthur Russell,” vocal loops (provided by William Brittelle) and syncopated rhythm hold steady as each instrument winds and shifts with casual surprise, while closer ”India Whiskey” melds tape, string harmonics and organ to stirring effect.
Since dropping in September 2010, the record has garnered significant attention. Pitchfork gave it a 7.8 and remarked that “Victoire condense moments of focused beauty and quiet conviction from the pandemic distractions of modern life.” The NY Times said of the album, “[Victoire] embraces an intoxicating blend of sensibilities in this set of eight consonant, dark-hued and sometimes eerie meditations.” ALARM Magazine described Cathedral City‘s boundary-pushing as “completely natural,” and NPR remarked concisely that “It’s just good music.”