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Busy cellist Lucy Railton, who has all sorts of album credits from Bat for Lashes and Jamie Cullum to Bonobo, has her own album this time. Out on Modern Love, it’s an uncompromising look at the possibilities of the cello and the studio. Railton draws fearsome, pulsing rasps, wails and drones out of the instrument, while mangled samples and granular textures thicken the sound into more diverse ‘scapes.

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  • LOVE108
  • LOVE108 / Black vinyl LP on Modern Love, mastered and cut by Matt Colton

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Paradise 94 by Lucy Railton
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8/10 Ant Staff review, 04 April 2018

Debut solo offering from cellist and sound artist Lucy Railton, whose work you may have heard before without realising it. She’s previously worked with Mica Levi as part of Orchestrate, and is a member of Time Is A Blind Guide (ECM). She’s also appeared on albums by Bat for Lashes, Jamie Cullum and Bonobo. With a full record all to herself, she creates a far more intimate, personal sound world that encompasses collaged location and studio recordings, musique concrète techniques, electronics and of course her cello which she utilizes in refreshingly unconventional ways. ‘Paradise 94’ often blurs the lines between the “real” and synthetic.

Generally speaking, it’s a pretty dark record with an uneasy, restless, dynamic flow of condensed mood swings - moving from moments of bitter frustration where objects are smashed and shattered into more ecstatic moments on the first side. The eerie, claustrophobic soundscapes and unsettling, scraping strings of ‘Gaslighter’ are an initial highlight as is the tension and release screeching rubbery noise of ‘For JR’ giving way to a wonderfully melancholic passage that’s half romantic, half funeral home morbid. The albums longest track ‘Fortified Up’ has her layering her playing into a wonderfully woozy disorientating drone wall that feels like it’s constantly accelerating leaving me half expecting my speakers will take off and start hurtling upwards through the ceiling -- yet at the same time it feels as though it is sinking. A real head spinner!

It's a mysterious, occasionally bewildering and constantly intriguing album with a whole lot to absorb. There’s no obvious narrative that’s easy to grasp - even after a few spins, but it certainly feels like a glimpse into the heart and mind of the very talented Lucy Railton.


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