The latest release from Special Solace finds Cedric Noel pushing his songwriting in new and exciting directions.
Although he no longer calls Fredericton his home, the city will always have the distinction of being the place where Cedric Noel grew up, at least in a musical sense. Over the past twenty-some years he’s lived and traveled to more places than most could ever hope to with stints in Africa, parts of Europe and even more parts of Canada. Seeing so much of the world at such a young age has had a big effect on shaping his creative voice and vision, helping to cut a path full of unpredictable curves and the occasional hairpin turn. Since first getting serious about music some seven or eight years ago, Noel has been involved in projects ranging from ambient and experimental noise, indie-folk and four-on-the-floor rock and roll. Yet while his career path has been anything but predictable, each new project he embarks on – no matter how loud or soft – somehow manages to reflect a unique and gentle sincerity.
Now dividing his time between Ottawa and Montreal, Noel performs regularly as a solo artist and collaborator but continues to hammer out new sounds and ideas at home in his studio. In early 2017, he launched Special Solace as an avenue for exploring Pop and R&B influences with greater intent. In February of last year he released the five track EP, Single Years, and now almost exactly a year later, Noel offers up two new Special Solace tracks.
“I thought it would be a good place to put music that felt more colourful, vibrant or like it had a certain energy,” said Noel, describing the project. “I’m not too sure how to describe it yet but I feel like it’s slowing approaching its way to being somewhere around an R&B and Pop project. But basically it’s another extension of my songwriting and arranging. I want to do something fun, something that I could dance to.”
Picking up where he left off on Single Years, Noel’s latest two song EP refines the project’s R&B influence with stronger production and programming. The up-tempo track, It’s New, pairs Noel’s love for reverb laden choruses and with the forward momentum of a pop radio ear worm, while Songwriter sits comfortably within Noel’s well-established downtempo domain augmented by synth waves and a simple looped melody that acts as both a foundation to build upon and a beacon to follow.
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“The energy of the music feels so different from pretty much anything I’ve released under my own name,” said Noel. “I have synesthesia which really dictates the way I write, arrange and produce. Music under my own name has pretty much always felt back and white or red. But really dark, dry and thick shades. Special Solace feels like its antithesis. Bright colours of pink, yellow, purple and orange have really dominated these songs if that makes any sense.”
Noel expects to release a full-length album of Special Solace material later this year as well as some new music under his own name. In the meantime, he’ll be back on the East Coast this spring performing in Fredericton with his own group at Flourish Festival, April 19-22.
“I’ve got some wonderful folks that I get to play with and they’ll be with me at Flourish,” said Noel. “Nothing has really changed on that end, if not increased. I’ve certainly scaled back on the number of bands or collaborations I’ve allowed myself to be a part of. That’s left me with a lot more time for my own projects which has felt necessary and quite liberating honestly.”