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Laura Cannell has a sonic aesthetic that seems to come from the depths of ancient English time. She improvises pieces using, mostly, recorder and fiddle, and several of these pieces are presented on Beneath Swooping Talons. Deep and powerful work here, all the more so for being recorded in single takes. On Front & Follow.

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Beneath Swooping Talons by Laura Cannell 1 review. Add your own review. 8/10
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8/10 Staff review, 27 August 2015

A master of bows and strings, Laura Cannell is a soloist who can sound responsible for a whole orchestra on her own. ‘Beneath Swooping Talons’ is an improvised record that trusts in first takes, suggesting many different classical disciplines but not quite fitting any. Cannell commits to a kind of neo-classical melancholy pioneered by Max Richter but reduced to total sparsity by Colin Stetson; on her own, she creates sounds louder and harsher than most groups would have the capacity for.

There’s a real diversity in Cannell’s music, which can often sound harmonious and multifaceted -- especially in the bowed works -- but often takes on a rawer discipline on medieval inspired compositions like “Deers Bark” and “Two Winters”. “Deers” has an unexpected propulsive energy, considering the reverent, slow sound of double recorders -- the results are similar to Aine O’Dwyer’s ‘Music for Church Cleaners’, in taking an old, stoical sound and granting us modern access to it.

There’s a harshness to this music that comes with the timbres of instruments used; it’s something Yair Elazar Glotman recently considered by converting the physicality of an instrument into drone, but Cannell is mostly creating more straightforward, melodious compositions which only occasionally lull into ambient. ‘Beneath Swooping Talons’ demonstrates how much sound can come from a solitary player.


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