Laura Cannell – HUNTER HUNTRESS HAWKER (Brawl Records)


Songs from a tenuous place; HUNTER HUNTRESS HAWKER’s instrumentals are single-take solo violin recordings from a semi-ruined church being approached by an eroding cliff edge. Laura Cannell’s music on this release is as bracing as a gust of coastal wind. It has similar properties, it eddies,  sighs, whispers, and blows with hard sustained force. Gaps of calm and stillness arrive abruptly and depart as quickly. Multiple techniques are employed, strings plucked in the sharply resonant space, abrasively scraped over-bowing, short sketched scribbles and more lengthy explorations, insistent worrying repetition, and languid lazy melodic yawns. Textures vary from the harsh and abrasive to the sweet and soothing.


Laura Cannell’s compositions and improvisations possess a weight and magic that make her a remarkable artist. Her body of work so far, particularly the haunting Beneath Swooping Talons, is consistently fascinating. This release, moving away from the avian imagery of previous albums, is inspired by a different, land-locked animal. Cannell on HUNTER HUNTRESS HAWKER evokes the experience of a horse, the violence done to it by humans but also its moments of freedom: trampling undergrowth and leaping fallen branches. The melodic lines of Cannell’s playing captures this with an elegant dance of elements, passages of pace and space conflict with the conjuring of denser oppressive moods.

HUNTER HUNTRESS HAWKER is another beautiful collection of songs by Laura Cannell. Further evidence, if any were needed, that she is one of the most imaginative artists around today.

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