A Common Truth by Saltland

Release date: March 31, 2017
Label: Constellation Records

Across her entire career, Cellist Rebecca Foon has helped accent many bodies of work with her wonderful performances, adding much to the timbre of what is being heard and felt. On her debut I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us, released under the moniker of Saltland, we were presented with the full capabilities of what Foon had to offer. Utilizing loops, and featuring guest musicians, we were presented with a darkly ominous yet beautiful album experience that was wonderfully entrancing. It seems though, that the debut effort was only the seed of what was truly capable, as on her sophomore album A Common Truth, we see it all blossoming forth into something incredible.

On A Common Truth, we see many of the same core concepts and ideas once again being explored, along with some new creative ideas that help expand on the sonic palette being offered. The ominous drones and ethereal vocals still play a large part, but it all feels much more grandoise, as though reaching for something far bigger than itself. At the core of the music is Foon’s ethereal cello performances, backed up by guest performances from the legendary Warren Ellis, who easily buys into the concept Foon is trying to present of environmental and political concerns, and helps present just that without shining the attention away from what is most important, those core concepts. It all culminates into an incredibly powerful and emotive work that makes you feel a duality in concern and hope, anger and resignation, an optimism for the much needed change in the world, and despair in how not enough has been done and is being done.

There is much at play here, which sees Foon utilizing an incredible number of techniques (combined with her compositional talent) to really bring life to the music itself. Whilst at the core, the cello and vocal performances form the basis for each of the tracks, the energy, the timbre and the emotion come from the presentation of the album’s concepts. It all culminates into a very meditative yet intense album experience, one that offers reflection on the current state of affairs, whilst also expressing a deep seated rage and anger over it all. The mastery of this work comes from Foon’s ability to channel her own thoughts on such subjects into something that is easily understood by its audience.

Once again Foon has managed to present a beautiful transcendental work, anchored by her ghostly vocals and cello performances, and accented by a whole host of wonderful creative ideas that truly bring the music to life. There feels to be a much harder edge to some of the tracks than what we’ve seen previously, though that isn’t to say there’s not those gorgeous sprawling moments that tug deep down inside. It feels somewhat like a protest album, but one that is more restrained in its approach than other albums like it, one that lets the music itself express what is being felt, and makes you feel the same way.

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