PREMIERE : Ciel – Elevate (Go Off Mix) [PEACH DISCS]


It would not be hyperbole to claim Cindy Li – better known as Ciel (fka CL) – as THE staple artist of the current Toronto scene. Her prolific presence as a DJ is well-deserved through her eclectic selections and nuanced sensibility, of which her Toronto Boiler Room in August with Funkineven and Basic Soul Unit can surely attest to.Just as compelling is the continued impact that she makes in using her platform to influence the dynamics and environment of the Toronto dance music community. As a part of forward-thinking nightlife collective It’s Not U It’s Me, Ciel throws parties with an actively implemented safer spaces policy. Her project Work-in-Progress strives for inclusivity and representation of diversity by fore-fronting femmes, queer folks and people of colour in both its party line-ups and the radio show.

Today, however, we emphasise more on how Ciel’s tireless work, dedication and care radiates into her production. Following from Chekov of Leeds and Fred of Bristol, Ciel’s debut 3-track EP will make for the fourth release on Shanti Celeste’s Peach Discs label, of which the label-head herself inaugurated with a 12” just February of this year.

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Our premiere, the aptly-named middle track ‘Elevate (Go Off Mix)’ on B1 opens gently with fluid, pentatonic contemplations. Shortly, light raw percussive breakbeats cut through almost intrusively, but the two elements soon become unified, melded in by swelling choral synths ahhh-ing over a beautiful, ephemeral memory. A playful woodblock pattern enlivens and refreshes, and a bouncy arpeggiated melodic line dances gracefully with us towards the ending. ‘Elevate’ is at once uplifting and warmly grounding.

Whilst Ciel’s self-released Soundcloud content has been more industrial-leaning, almost sinister with airs of urgency, her forthcoming EP would best be described as heavenly. Both, however, share similarities in Ciel’s eccentric sound programming, unconventional narrative arcs, and play with unlikely yet well-balanced dichotomies. B2 ‘Rain Dance’, for example, pairs a chordal melodic line on marimba-like synths with Baltimore-club-flavoured staccato bass-kick triplets and electro white-noise flutters – wow!

We’re eagerly anticipating Ciel’s ‘Electrical Encounters’ EP. Forthcoming on Peach Discs, it’s set for a November release!