Temporal is the elegantly restrained new album by Canadian cellist/composer Julia Kent.
Following the dissonance and tension of her previous album for Leaf, 2015’s Asperities, Temporal is a meditation on the transitory and fragile nature of existence. Plaintive cello lines floating over metronomic rhythms echo the passage of time, and the emotions that can evoke.
Much of the music that comprises Temporal was originally written to accompany theatre and dance productions. “The initial inspiration was more external than internal, in that many of these pieces began as a response to a text or a choreographic concept,” Julia explains, “but they all seemed to be coming from the same emotional world and it made sense to weave them together into a record.”
“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.”
After the threat of violent release on Asperities, Temporal’s relationship to the physical world manifests itself in a more organic, human sound. The electronic manipulations are subtler, with Julia sampling voices from a theatre production and processing them into unrecognisable textures: ghosts of the source material. “I included the processed voices to acknowledge the genesis of the music and also because I wanted to incorporate vocals in a way that turned voice into texture, and blurred the lines between sonic elements.”
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