You sit in a theater, completely alone in total darkness. A grey counter descending from 5 flickers onto the screen. After the number 1 disappears, everything is black once again. You are then shown a tranquil image of a pastoral meadow in vibrant color. The scenery steadily fades to black and white, and a hooded man steps out from behind one of the trees in the distance. He coldly stares for a long while, and begins slowly walking towards you . . .
The cello is a magical instrument. Its timbre and deeply beautiful tone are timeless, and it’s often utilized to emphasize the emotional intensity in compositions, but what happens when an artist constructs an album with the instrument as its centerpiece? Asperities is the newest full-length from Canadian cellist and producer Julia Kent. On this record, the frequent collaborator has found her own unique sound.
Kent weaves tapestries of delicate electronics and enveloping field samples that wrap around her entrancing, suspense-inducing cello performances. Any one of these songs could score a horror film with the best of ’em, but only the scenes where the sense of dread hangs heavy in the frigid air. There are no jump-scares on this ride, but the menacing, beautifully overwhelming tension will have you aching for the jolt of relief.
The symphonic musician has long accompanied and supported the artistic narratives of acts such as Antony and the Johnsons and Rasputina, but Kent has used this record as an opportunity to emerge from the ensemble haze and into the solo artist limelight. Classical music is very much alive and well, and it lives within talented virtuosos such as this. If you’re seeking menacingly atmospheric, symphonic music, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)