Boomkat Product Review:
Another essential plate from multi-instrumentalist Laura Cannell, this time focusing on a pipe organ recorded live inside a 14th Century church. Incredible. slow-paced liturgical drones of the most brittle, absorbing pedigree.
Not content with quietly throwing down one of the best albums we've heard this year with "Antiphony of the Trees", Cannell swerves the recorders and violin to explore the pipe organ's sacred resonance on this short and gloriously brilliant EP. "Unlocking Rituals" was recorded using the full pipe organ inside a rural East Anglian village church, Cannell employs her outsize improvisational talents to let the 1899-built instrument guide her through four distinct pieces. "There is a joy in playing something new and discovering the slow moving air inside instrument and the space it is rooted in," she explains.
Cannell brings her interest in ancient folk and religious music to the instrument, channeling her experience and ideas into music that's rendered in such a way that it feels personalised rather than grandiose. Despite the pipe organ's funereal associations, there's little austerity to be found; 'In a Falling Shadow' is slow-paced with Cannell cascading chords that seem to mimic old choral music, enhanced by the air amplified through the pipes.
There's a majesty to 'Locked in My Bones' that's hard to ignore, and while Cannell doesn't slow things down to a drone, her improvised performance still draws our attention to the character of the instrument. On 'Lay down by the Golden Reeds' she pushes the organ to its limit, overlaying notes until the sounds fill the hall, and on closer 'Through Barley Fields and Hollows' she appears to take the opposite route, allowing low notes to reverberate through the building.
It's moving music that's meditative and human, playful and spiritual - once again Cannell is making some of the most quietly vital and original music in the field of contemporary liturgical/rural music.