Cedric Noel Releases New EP

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A Few Pieces of Repetition gives life to the album that never was.

Matt Carter

Last winter, Cedric Noel was rumoured to be working on a full-length album. This was pretty big news considering his rapid development as a musician and songwriter and his subsequent rise as an influential player on the Fredericton scene. Under the working title, Repetition, the initial idea for the album was to continue on his well-established path of home recording, invite a few friends to join in the fun and have the drums tracked in an actual studio. But while all these goals were accomplished, the final album ended up getting shelved as other projects took priority.

“I think I initially began that album [Repetition] like most I write, as a concept album,” said Noel. “Unsurprisingly, I got lost and decided to scrap the concept and focus on something a little bit more on the abstract. I had the idea of writing a cohesive ‘pop’ album, whatever the hell that meant. In any case, I found finishing it extremely fruitless and decided to give it up.”

But it’s not like Noel has been sitting idle. That’s not the case at all. Over the past twelve months he has twice toured parts of the country as a member of David R. Elliott’s band, recorded an EP of soundscapes with Union Suit’s Tate Lejeune as well an EP of solo piano improvisations, and has been performing extensively as a member of LAPS. Somewhere in there he has also been working on a new Sentimentals album.

Keeping a busy performance schedule has left little time for writing new music, or finishing older projects as is the case with the initial body of material planned for Repetition. Noel admits to completing only five songs so far this year – a major change for a musician who for a time was dropping new EPs every few months.

“I haven’t written much in the past year,” said Noel. “As much as I’ve had the appreciation and the good fortune of being a consistent songwriter, I feel like the backlog of unfinished songs and ideas has left me a little lost. I’ve been holding on to things that I don’t relate to as much anymore. So much has changed in the last seven years or so. I have such a hole in my gut from not writing about the things that are relevant to me and others now.”

In crafting the tracks first intended for Repetition, Noel invited an impressive array of Fredericton-area musicians to take part in the process including Chris MacLean (All in the Mind studio), Adam Guidry (drums), Dennis Goodwin and Scott Malory (lap steel) with both Jane Blanchard and Jon Bowie contributing vocals.

“I still think these songs have value and merit,” said Noel. “I wasn’t alone. I had the ridiculous good fortune to work with some friends whose talent and diligence I respect so much. Chris, Jane, Jon, Dennis, Scott and Adam, thank you so much for being infinitely patient with me during the constant pushing and pulling of these ideas. However much I may want to distance myself from these songs they are still important to me and are full of worth. I hope that can be sensed.”

On A Few Pieces of Repetition, Noels offers up five tracks full of raw straight-from-the-heart emotion, melancholy and pathos like only he is capable of. As with each new release, Noel has once again stepped up his songwriting. The heart is more heartfelt and the honesty, more honest.  You can almost see the tears rolling down his cheeks when he sings, All I have is this ribbon I stole for you, because I’m not worth much of a damn without you, in the song Ribbon. It’s a hook that hooks deep.

It’s safe to say the world is a better place now that these songs can be heard and enjoyed. Unlike any other musician in recent memory, Noel teaches us new ways to feel and new ways to love with each new release and for that, we should all be grateful.

“These five songs are not only songs that I considered almost finished but also songs I feel comfortable enough to share,” he said. “Maybe they’re enjoyable? I don’t really know anymore. But I felt it was important to let go of them.”

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