French singer-songwriter Edith Crash is artistically reborn, but not without experiencing the pain caused by the death of one of the most important people her life. When the musician from the south of France came to Los Angeles two years ago, she brought her political and poetic Inonde album in tow. The desire to create new songs for a followup existed in the abstract but became less certain when Crash's mother Anna-Marie Atge fell ill with cancer and died last year. Recording an album was the last thing the one-woman band phenom felt like doing.
At the onset, the situation didn't seem so dire. In the course of two years, Crash's mom recovered to a point where she could meet with her daughters for a vacation in New York. But within, she became weak once more. After being rushed to the emergency room, Crash's mom flew back to France and the musician followed.
“I went through a lot of different up-and-down emotions like hope and fear,” she says looking back. Sometimes Crash would write or play with melodies on her guitar whenever they came naturally as a form of coping. “It was more like a catharsis,” she says. “I kept playing because music helped me a lot through this.”
Crash stayed with her ill mother in the hospital for several months, spending the night by her bedside until the moment of her passing came last year. Distraught, the musician stopped singing and was unsure about returning to LA, but with the support of family and the loving memory of her mother, she found the strength to do both, even if it didn't come easy at first. “I was just confused. Everything was complicated in coming back here,” Crash says. “It was hard for me to go back to life without knowing how to start again.”
An opportunity to make music with producer Alain Johannes remained when she returned. Crash had been a fan of his work both as a solo artist and with musicians like Queens of the Stone Age and Chris Cornell. The intimate settings of Johannes' living room studio in Los Angeles provided just the right the environment for the songs she began composing. “You don't have the pressure,” Crash says. “It's a more familiar place.” The live take recordings captured the rawness of her sound and emotionally charged lyrics.
After finishing eight songs, the new album Partir pays tribute to Crash's late mother. “The songs are all about what we lived together,” she says. “It is like a journey in someway.” The title is fitting given Crash's mother having left the world of the living and her home departure from France once more. She's offering an early digital exclusive of the new album to fans who donate to her Pledge Music campaign.
So far, the response has been immense from around the globe. And why wouldn't it be? Crash sounds rejuvenated and more powerful than ever. Her vocals can howl with commanding, raspy range just as easily as they can strike softer, more intricate tones. A one-woman band, her music is simple yet ferocious. Bass drum hits rattle with force while a tambourine incessantly paces alongside her impassioned guitar strums.
All together, the elements form an explosion of sound on Partir unlike any other making it a definitive album that would make any mother proud to call a musician like Crash her own.
Check out Edith Crash's PledgeMusic campaign video HERE!
Edith Crash performs with Sarah Pigion and Josh Hanson (Yellow Red Sparks) at Beatnik Bandito, 417 N. Broadway, Santa Ana. 8 p.m. $5. All ages.