Kristin Rule – The Knife that Cuts a Tear

 

If you live on website’s like The Silent Ballet you know that there is a magnanimous amount of quality modern classical music out there in the wilderness. Locations like Montreal come to mind, isolated hubs of beautiful tunes spiralling from Iceland, or electronic sonic eruptions of strings and digitized components from the confines of Japan. What you do not generally expect is music of such calibre stemming from Australia. Sure, there are some budding electronic downtempo artists here, hell even a few post-rock bands that push the envelope, but not anything remotely ‘modern classical’ – if I may use that term ambiguous as it is. With the release of Kristin Rule’s second album The Knife That Cuts A Tear we are treated to something home grown, but most of all something that is dripping with emotion and skill.

Rule makes heavy use of a loopstation to construct layered and intricate melodies with her Cello and Viola. While this may seem minimalistic in nature her sound is expansive and encompassing drawing wide imagery with vivid colours and earthly underpinnings. Strings cascade between one another, sometimes waltzing along with distinct rise and fall and taking turns that keep the informed listener extremely interested and the casual musicphile aroused.

The whole album seems to be formulaic on paper but comes off as varied and textured without anything dull. For comparison, Olafur Arnalds is probably one who sometimes struggles with a formulaic structure, creating at times predictable climaxes that although fulfill emotionally do not continue to do so over time. Rule however maintains intensity and poise with a tangental album within and between songs, creating wonderful atmosphere that would complement any film score well, except here the script has already been written.

I’ve scaped the general but i’m sure you are here to read the specifics, so i’ll get started on those. There is a definitive structure to the record, and the first four tracks open the piece with romanticism with the self. This romanticism does not refer to the self indulgent type, but signifies (to me, as the listener I should point out) a greater understanding of oneself. The movement opens with Clarity, a slow building piece that melds perfect harmony between the opening of high pitched cello and the low end ebb. The piece flows and thumping percussion is added tastefully as the cello is accentuated and captures something that really cannot be described with words. The next track, Power, weaves through six minutes of enveloping textures, but also lends itself heavily to the wonderfully crafted percussion and multi-tracked strings, building upon one another effortlessly over a rhytmic opening theme.

Impermanence, the fifth track, clearly departs from the opening sequence and levels with some uneasy immediacy. The bright viola textures present an almost middle-eastern dance vibe with diving strings and finger plucking. This track truly showcases the layered work Rule espouses and goes hand in hand with the layered stylings of C J Boyd. The record is filled with music where the instruments not only speak to the listener but speak to each other in the piece – something that is well presented in jazz music and exquisitely showcased here.

Ending Illusions opens with Anduin like ambience, dark, desolate and airy ushering in a finger plucked pattern and accompanying strings. This third section of the album gives a little more space for solo pieces, letting the instruments tell their own story eloquently before cascading into dense, controlled loops. Affirmation follows, my favourite track on the record. The track is carried mostly by one swaying string motif enveloped by layers of glorious cello, it reminds me so much of Max Richter I have to second guess myself it is not him, and that is indeed a wonderful compliment to the music here.

To be completely honest with you, this album was very hard to review. It takes you down many roads with twists and turns but is extremely well executed. I will recomend you head to bandcamp (click the artwork) and grab a flac copy of the album and listen to it on some nice headphones – because the textures are there to be explored, pondered and revisted – and you will, again and again.

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LIVE Recording using Boss RC50 Loopstation – no pre recorded music

 

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  1. […] latest release ‘The Knife that Cuts a Tear’ was met with significant praise both on this very site and on the highly respected The Silent Ballet garnering an astounding 8.5 out of 10. Needless to […]



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