Cedric Noel to release upcoming album ‘Hang Time’

The Montreal-based artist explores his newfound sense of identity in latest album

Cedric Noel explores his newfound sense of identity in latest album ‘Hang Time.’ Courtesy Kristina Pedersen

Set to be released Nov. 12, Montreal-based musician Cedric Noel’s most recent indie-rock album, Hang Time, is said to bring listeners on a journey through his personal experiences.

With over a decade worth of released music, Noel’s latest album stands apart from the rest of his work. With Hang Time, the indie artist set out for the album to carry a large emphasis on its themes of identity, intimacy, and friendship, as opposed to the large instrumental goals he usually has for his work. Noel explained how his focus lines up with wanting a certain production style or to use certain arrangements within an album, but for Hang Time the artist focused his priorities on translating his journey of better understanding his identity.

“I was always really obsessed with the arrangement side of production,” he said. “[With] Hang Time I did have a specific musical goal too, but I think, the thematic goal definitely trumped it,” said Noel. 

With most of the songs written about four years ago, Hang Time emcopasses a newfound sense of identity that came to Noel during his mid 20s.

After years in the making and Noel’s patience in finding a label to partner with for the album, Hang Time is finally seeing the light of day via Joyful Noise Recordings/Forward Music Group this Friday.

“It just felt like it was an album that deserved to have a bit more of my patience rather than wanting to put it out the following month, which is what I [have] done before,” said Noel. 

Noel explained his newfound sense of identity came through learning to better understand himself as a Black person within his surroundings. This understanding came not only in relation to himself, his own life, and how he grew up, but also in relation to other People of Colour and his community.

“[It’s] trying to figure that out, and then also, [figuring out] my identity as a Black person in [the] very white music spaces that I'm often in,” said Noel. “There are more and more Black folks that are appearing and that I see all the time, but it still is a very white-dominated space.”

The cover art for ‘Hang Time’ features colourful photography by Kriss Munsya with a design and layout from Ryan Hover. Courtesy Hive Mind

“There was a lot of reckoning with how I felt about that and also realizing a lot of weird and hurtful things that happened,” he continued. “[I’m] just trying to come out of it on the other side, trying to feel okay about myself, which I think I ultimately am doing.”

Just as the album travels through themes of identity, intimacy, friendships, and life experiences, Noel stays true to a sonically large variety as the album travels through genres and styles.  

“It actually spans several genres,” said Steve Newton, who engineered Hang Time. “So there are areas where it’s ambient music and soundscapes, but then there are areas where there’s big distorted guitars, loud drums, and then there’s quiet acoustic songs.”

“Essentially it’s like a rock record,” said Noel. “It has a good amount of quieter songs too, which seems to be my vibe as well.”

With a final outcome of musical layers which blend overlapped vocals and multiple guitar accompaniments, Newton explained the duo worked in the studio together over the course of a year.

“We work really well together. Our visions definitely aligned and I think the outcome was exactly what we set out to achieve,” said Newton. “Cedric curated it very well, and the way it’s laid out from song to song is very thought out. It takes the listener on a journey throughout the album.” 

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“Cedric has made so much music in his life and has collaborated with everyone in Montreal, and I think it’s his time to be heard by as many people as he can be.” — Brigitte Naggar

Noel’s curation in creating a thoughtfully structured record can be seen in the placement of “Dove,” a song that holds a bit of humour in its lyrics and ends the A-side of the album. As the sixth song on the album, “Dove” manages to give a midway point for listeners to digest what Noel describes as a dense listen with a lot to unpack—before heading into the second half of the record.

“I felt like it was a good way to end that side because, it's still about some serious thing, or real human emotions, but it also has a sort of levity to it that kind of gives you a bit of a break from the density of the first side,” explained Noel. It features alternative folk musician Brigitte Naggar, whose artist name is Common Holly. 

The song, which takes a sarcastic tone about an overly dramatic hopeless romantic, is one of the five singles that have already been released in anticipation of Hang Time

Noel approached Naggar about a collaboration seeing as she is a talented musician with great vocals, he explained.

“I just heard her voice, I heard the timbre of her voice for this song. I was looking for a voice like hers,” said Noel.

The collaboration came effortlessly, explained the pair, and it can be heard when listening to the seamless blend of vocals in “Dove.” 

Honoured to be a part of the album, Naggar explained she hopes listeners will connect with the thematic lyrics in Hang Time.

“I think that they will hopefully have the privilege of hearing a really strong voice in the world of Montreal music,” she said. “Cedric has made so much music in his life and has collaborated with everyone in Montreal and I think it’s his time to be heard by as many people as he can be. I just hope people will connect with the authenticity of his work and with the messages he’s trying to get across, and with his voice because it’s a powerful voice.”