Polish cellist Resina resurfaces on FatCat offshoot 130701 with more of her assured and poised neoclassical narratives, on Traces. The release marks somewhat of a career curve with an increased jaggedness and vitality, and in a bold move she employs her stark vocal to dramatic effect. Drums and percussion add extra dynamism and body to the work.
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Resina’s first record -- also FatCat imprint 130701’s banner relaunch release -- was a beautiful ghost ode played on cello and pretty much just cello. Still and sonorous, it only began to try new ideas out on its final track of melodic plucking and absent-minded hums. If it was meant to signal anything, it was possibility: in her usual drone state, Resina’s sound was like a forbidden and confined secret, but in her final moment, she suggested something new and freeing. ‘Traces’ is that very thing.
Opener “In” is intent made music. It’s a new version of Resina that utilises processed vocal loops over her old, patient cello work -- while also introducing aggressions that focus the string, rather than what playing it can bring together. With a physicality as daunting as EBM, “In” becomes a frightening kind of intimate, like a dentist scraping at your ear. “Procession” continues to combine these two Resina’s; she is both her old self, weathering the storm and stretching the sound, and a new shadow Resina, one utilising bellicose percussion and vital melodic motions. Her sound is as in the open as ever, but here it sounds challenged, hunted, fighting for its life.
For an artist with an established practice, ‘Traces’ is a massive undertaking, rerouting much of what we know about Resina without ditching the sound pallette she’s built for herself. The vocal ambience and electronic distortion of “Surface” is a wave of brave new layers, offering extra dimensions to a sound that was once lonely and languishing. It’s Resina glitching and pulsing and coming awake, and I couldn’t love it more.
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