Cellist Clarice Jensen has already collaborated with the late composer Jóhann Jóhannsson amongst others on earlier work but for her second album goes it alone on a record which uses the cello and nothing else as a sound source. The album uses the instrument to create loops and electronica that veer far in the direction of more dance-orientated practitioners like Actress. Seems she's doing for the cello what Colin Stetson has done for the sax.
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‘The experience of repetition as death’ is one of the more thought provoking album titles I’ve seen recently. Bleak as well, as it’s a record built on repetition. Built by Clarice Jensen, a cellist, who uses tape loops to create music that is uncanny and awesome.
The easiest point of comparison here is something like the drone meets neo-classical sound of A Winged Victory For The Sullen. But where they use an ensemble, Jensen is all on her own, disappearing and reappearing from a thick fog of her own creation. Opener ‘Daily’ is like walking blindfolded on the beach, it’s slightly unnerving but you know you're safe.
‘Day Tonight’ opens with what sounds like a choir with a collectively deep voice. From here Jensen builds a drone with all the weight of a church organ. It’s immense, frighteningly so. Following it is ‘Metastable’, which rests on a relentless throb that threatens to obscure all around it.
Everything coalesces around ‘Holy Mother’, a piece that lives up to its name. Cello becomes church bells, and organ, and choir. It’s celestial and glorious, finding wonder not only in the simple fact of repetition but also in what is being repeated. More than any of the other great minimalists it's Julian Eastman ‘The experience of repetition as death’ reminds me of. He too could conjure something otherworldly without drifting into the academic or the obvious.
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