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Legendary avant-bard Laura Cannell continues her experiments in transposing the countryside, here offering sounds recorded by and soundtracking the Suffolk coast. The eleven tracks on Hunter Huntress Hawker were recorded in a dilapidated church on "a fast eroding cliff" -- her emotive medieval music shines through as if suggesting both the changes to the environment through time as well as its constancy.

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  • Brawl 011 / Limited edition cassette tape on Brawl Records
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Hunter Huntress Hawker by Laura Cannell 1 review. Add your own review. 8/10
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8/10 Staff review, 13 September 2017

Avant-bard Laura Cannell makes music for earth. I mean like, earth, though: ground, slabs, the stuff you put your feet on. Using a collection of her medieval string instruments, she makes music that sounds old then, tragic now, its emotive power retained through melodies I dare to call timeless. Her new release, ‘Hunter Huntress Hawker’, was recorded in a dilapidated church on the edge of an eroding Suffolk cliff, and it seems to take in the humbling power of that setting: at times her compositions sound as steady and dormant as the ruined environment she’s working in, while at other times they are desperate, speaking to the active erosion of this landmark of history.

To get less deep about it: she’s making incredibly dramatic music that understands tensions need to be built to, that stakes are raised from a series of meditations. My favourite thing about her string-work is that it sleuths more than it attacks, creating claustrophobia out of repetitive stretches of the instrument. The tape’s flipside sees her attend to dissonance, squeaking and scratching her instrument with little more holding it together than broken rhythm, the piece sounding like a completely unromantic ode to the rustic landscape collapsing around it. These pieces feel like her harshest yet, either acting as physical blemishes or implying them through the kind of droning terseness last seen in the recent work of Resina. Cannell’s melodic inclinations still exist, here, but they flicker rather than flourish -- and deliver something truly breath-taking.


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