Berlin-based French Caribbean performer, painter and electronic pop chanteuse Valerie Renay (one half of Noblesse Oblige) presents her first solo album Your Own Shadow, co-produced by Alexander Paulick-Thiel (Kreidler): Empowering and ethereal songs that exude dreamy, dark electronic scents with a visceral twist.
After initial help from producer Moses Schneider and Einstürzende Neubauten’s engineer Boris Wilsdorf, Valerie was set on a path where her sound could continue to develop organically, as she travelled solo, testing new material in front of international audiences (Live appearances in Germany, Poland, South Africa, Italy).
The stage show is raw and sensual, with Valerie delivering a dramatic and emotionally charged vocal performance. Poignant stories are delivered in English and French over layers of synths, guitar, and hypnotic bass lines, bouncing off bewitching tribal beats.
Brutal and soulful at once, each concert can only be described as a ritualistic experience oozing with punk attitude.
Somewhere between two colliding worlds, this album was conceived at a moment of deep transition. The radical transformation Valerie experienced triggered the making of an opus full of contrasts.
Some of the songs like Darkest Lake suggest deep vulnerability, others like Kick Again, a kind of confidence bordering on brashness. As a creature of extremes, these are all parts of Valerie’s journey. She explains how those pulsations are exacerbated when in creative mode, pulling her from ecstasy to complete gloom. From the exhilaration of Speed Of Blue (lyrics by Ian Pickering of Sneaker Pimps) to the deep sadness of Hollow, she takes us through the whole spectrum of human emotions.
The desire to explore my own limits and share intimate sensations motivated me to write these songs. I started this solo project to exorcise private demons. Writing songs alone is such a beautiful but lonely path, you are faced with yourself, your own fear, your own doubts but also the incredible feeling that everything is possible and options are endless. The choice is yours, you’re the pilot flying that plane. I needed to get those songs out of my system because they inhabited me like unresolved, fragile tales that I wanted to share, to understand better who I am.
Your Own Shadow, the title of the album refers to the feeling you have when you don’t recognise yourself anymore because you are made to feel small, insignificant, empty and lost. You know this is not the real you… Somewhere the real you still has fire and power but your very existence feels so meaningless. You forget how to be standing on your own two feet.
Valerie’s music places less emphasis on structure, technical knowledge and production and more on raw emotional content. The songs are quite bare and simple compared to the work she did with Noblesse Oblige, straighter to the point and far more direct.
It was a learning process for me to teach myself how to play every instrument, to create arrangements and basic productions. However, working with these limitations also gave me a strange new sense of freedom and power.
The result of her solitary journey is Your Own Shadow, a collection of haunting melodies coloured with delicate poetry. A series of soundscapes that invite you to tread the world’s darker paths and roughest edges, while still being lifted by Valerie’s love for ecstatic electronics and harmonic tones.