Album of the week: Julia Kent – Temporal

Julia Kent - temporal album cover

Canadian cellist Julia Kent has, with Temporal, produced an achingly beautiful album, that while sitting firmly within the neo-classical genre, shows a wide range of influences.

Twelve-minute opener Last Hour Story, sets the bar high for the rest of the album, which fortunately it manages to match. The looping and building of strings on strings pulls at your own heartstrings and by the end of it you may be an emotional wreck.

Through all her tracks, Kent leans on elements of electronica to centre the album in the here-and-now. Without it many of these tracks would be well-suited to the dramatic parts of some of our darker period dramas.

The electronic influence is more obvious on tracks like Imbalance, which features a pulsating deep-bass synth and electro ticks and pops to counterbalance the cello and organ driving the piece.

Similarly Conditional Futures places us in a dystopian landscape, where looped strings and low-key synth tones provide the backdrop as Kent’s cello drifts in and out of the scene, before the tone lightens towards the end to provide that glimmer of hope amongst the gloom.

There are more uplifting moments to be found on Floating City, with its plucked strings and house-style pianos, and again on Through the Window which has an almost Balearic feel to it.

Crepuscolo brings events to a close, with Kent’s cello sitting alongside echoing piano notes, ambient swirls and the sound of chirping crickets as the whole album drifts off into entropy.

Temporal is a cerebral listen rather than one to get your feet going, or even to use as backing music at a dinner party. But if you are the kind of person who is moved by music – brace yourself – because this will be an emotional journey.

Release dates: 25 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Last Hour Story

For fans of:

  • Nils Frahm
  • Max Richter
  • Global Communication

Listen on Spotify

EP review: Nils Frahm – Encores 2

This is the second EP release from the German electronic-neoclassical maestro recorded during the sessions that resulted in last year’s masterpiece All Melody.

While the first EP Encores 1 was a further exploration of Frahm’s delicate piano work, Encores 2 takes a more ambient approach and to my mind is the far stronger of the two works.. It still struggles to reach the dizzying heights of the album that preceded it, but then again not much does. This 26-minute four-track EP, however is a fantastic addendum to All Melody and has some wonderful moments in which you get truly lost in the sonic landscape Frahm creates.

There are no weak moments on this piece, but the 12-minute epic that is Spells truly stands out as a work of art.

If you have enjoyed his work in the past, this will not be a disappointment.

Release date: 25 January 2019

Rating: 8/10

Standout track: Spells

For fans of:

  • Max Richter
  • Brian Eno
  • Biosphere

Listen on Spotify