‘Cyclorama’ will be out on October 20 via Local Action and incorporates Zetina’s background in theatre writing which is seen in the theatrical cover art directed by Dylan Bragassa.
The Chicago Smartbar resident wrote the album back in Spring 2021 and includes features from Cae Monāe, Mia Arevalo, DANNN, Violet and Bored Lord.
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The definition of the album title ‘Cyclorama’ is a large curtain for a stage performance which was commonly used in 19th century German theatre.
Ariel’s says: “I imagine all the tracks on this as the lights and action projected onto the cyclorama. The whole album is like the cyc, a representation of the sky. Or an imagined sky. An imagined dancefloor. An imagined theatrical production.”
‘Have You Ever’ - which is out now - with Cae Monāe is said by Ariel to use the lyrics to the “fear and anxiety that cis men who are attracted to trans women feel, and also any woman that doesn’t fit the mold of a stereotypical woman”.
She adds: “Cae and I – and many trans women – have been in so many situations where society tells cis men they cannot be with trans women and this explores that and gives power to all trans women in this situation. The techno reflects that, as well as the “Spell my name” section at the end, showing the true power of trans women.”
Other tracks also speak on a Ariel’s personal journey as a trans woman of colour such as on ‘Slab of Meat’, where she sings the lines: “I am treated like a slab of meat both emotionally and sexually sometimes, especially one left in the freezer on the back burner. Why did you bring this meat home from the market? For what? You’re wasting meat!”.
In the track ‘Gemstone’ with Mia Arevalo, she says it calls for, trans women to “take time” transiting explaining: “As two girls who have started our transition almost a decade ago, I think we have both seen that we have always needed to take our time to take our time. Reminders not to rush or compare yourself to other girls. I love the metaphor of gemstone months representing different periods of transition. I’ve been so many different women in recent years, and I’m excited to continue my journey.”
Listen to 'Have You Ever’ featuring Cae Monāe below and pre-order her debut album here.
Becky Buckle is Mixmag's Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter