Having collaborated, recorded and toured with many artists including Antony & the Johnsons and a former member of cello-driven indie-rock band Rasputina (with Zoë Keating), Vancouver-born and New-York-based cellist Julia Kent launched her own solo career in 2007. Incorporating cello loops and layers or electronics and found sounds into her music, Julia Kent has also composed extensively for cinema, dance performances and theatre. She has released three solo LPs to date.
Composed as an homage to late American cellist and composer Arthur Russell’s landmark recording World of Echo (1986), Delay (Important Records – 2007) reflects the musician’s emotional response to the concept of travelling from one place to another by plane and of constantly transiting between “non-spaces” – each track on the album is named after an international airport.
Green and Grey (2011)
With Green and Grey (Important Records – 2011), the cellist went on to explore
the intersections between the human world and the natural world, the melding of the technological and the organic, the patterns and repetitions that exist in nature and are mirrored in human creations, and the complexity and fragility of our relationships with one another and with the world that surrounds us.
The plucked strings, spiralling motifs and reverb set to the ambient rhythm of insects, rain or footsteps generate the most unique and eerie cello-based symphony:
Released on the Leaf Label in March 2013 last, Julia Kent’s third solo album Character was entirely recorded in her own home studio – a solitary process which allowed the cellist to ascertain her own inner voice.
“I ended up thinking about the process of life,” explains Kent. “How sometimes a narrative in fiction is meant to mirror the chronology of human life, and how our lives, in a way, can resemble works of fiction, but without the possibility of controlling the outcome the way an author can.
Combining the use of electronics with the wealth of sonic possibilities offered by the cello, the ten new compositions on Character build into complex, sometimes dark yet eminently cinematic and creative musical introspections.
Referring to the passing of time and one of the standout tracks on the album, “Tourbillon” also elicits both the idea of the natural wind or water whirlwind and the sentiment of emotional turbulence – as in “the swirl of everyday life” (le Tourbillon de la vie) to paraphrase the title of Jeanne Moreau’s song in François Truffaut 1962 film Jules and Jim.