Hannah Marshall – Tulse Hill (Linear Obsessional Recordings)

This album from London improvising cellist Hannah Marshall contains a set of de-tuned cello instrumentals utilising rhythmic repetition and field recordings; the two elements imagined by Marshall as a series of meals with complimentary but contrasting ingredients.

The improvisations unfold naturally and organically, as simple repetitions branch out in small increments, like a suite of minimalist solo compositions.  String beats drop in and out, shifting the structure of each piece until they rarely resemble their beginnings.  Hannah Marshall really explores each avenue that opens up, a sense of openness throughout keeps the album bright and engaging.  The variety of sound created conceals the simple set-up; at times Marshall conjures what seems to be a small gamelan chamber group, or, on ‘Near Coincidence’, a duo of mountain folk players.  Field recordings and subtle electronics are closely weaved into the mix, rewarding close and repeated listening; ‘Forge’ unites scraping and squeaking bowed drones with the drumming of rain on a roof, and ‘Too’ embeds cyclical plucks and CD-skipping halts in a cloud of soft fog-horn moans.

As well as being an active member of various improvising ensembles, with ‘Tulse Hill’ Hannah Marshall has proven herself to be a solo player of imagination and intelligence; recording an album of deceptively simple but very rewarding and hypnotic music.  A series of small meals that combine in a feast for the ears and mind.

Purchase the album here.

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