… plaintive cello lines floating over the metronomic rhythms [which] echo the passage of time…
Released: January, 2019
Mastered By: Rafael Anton Irisarri
Artwork By: Oli Bentley
See Also: Interview with Julia Kent
If You Like: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Christina Vantzou, Greg Haines, and Danny Norbury
Canadian cellist, Julia Kent, is back with a new album for Leaf, a gloomy, dark, delicious journey of texture, cinematic ambience and modern classical timbre. I’ve witnessed Julia play before, with her shoes off working the loop pedals, all dressed in black, as she appears to be in all of her press photos, her hair dark around the sombre face, an arm tattoo, sharp focus on the music. I dive into the description of this artist because I feel her being bleeding in and onto all her works, a natural extension of her mind, expressed in sound throughout time. Is Temporal a hint at our very own existence? Is there a fear or an acceptance thereof? Perhaps a little bit of both as you traverse the dissonance and tension, so well restrained within this composition.
The rhythmic plucking of the string counts down the clock from an unknown number. The many-layered cello notes (and tones) create a blanket of unease, but find comfort in their warming. A bass begins to pulse. An organ walks the scale. We are acknowledging “Imbalance” and its ongoing presence in our lives. Too much a leaning to the left, too much a resuming to the right, we tend to float throughout this storm, like a lone lost and tiny buoy. The clouds subside and music perseveres, and then, perhaps, we’re not alone, surrounded by others in this “Floating City”, where pizzicato notes dance lightly with the piano. This cinematic tendency of the sound appears due to the pieces having been originally written for the theatre and dance productions, repackaged now in album form, for our delight and pleasure.
When I perform live with dance and theatre, it makes me enormously aware of the fragility of our physical world. Dancers and actors, anyone whose instrument is their body, have nothing to protect them from the rules of gravity and time. They are so strong, but they’re subject to those demands in a more extreme way because of the physicality of what they’re doing. Onstage, I have an instrument to mediate for me, but they are bare. When I work with dancers, especially, I feel as though there can be an incredible energy exchange. They create a sort of weather system on the stage.
This “weather” is indeed transforming through the album, as you can gather from my words (which I’ve convoked before digging out the quote above). Even with the delayed echoes of the strings, which practically compose the metre of the album, the album feels organic and inherent, with Kent’s emotions permeating through and through. Those willing to connect with Julia on yet another level will find themselves immersed in all she has to say. Recommended for fans of Hildur Guðnadóttir [who seems to be consumed by soundtracks these days — did you see Chernobyl?], Christina Vantzou, Zoë Keating, Danny Norbury, Greg Haines, and Poppy Ackroyd. A favourite on Leaf which calls for your attention.