Julia Kent – Temporal

Julia Kent's sixth solo effort is a stunningly meditative and expertly controlled album, making for a unique sonic experience

Album Review by Eliza Gearty | 24 Jan 2019
Album title: Temporal
Artist: Julia Kent
Label: The Leaf Label
Release date: 25 Jan

To sit down and hook yourself into Julia Kent's Temporal is a bit like how you'd imagine floating in one of those sensory deprivation tanks might feel. This strange and compelling album – Kent's sixth as a solo artist – is, as the best abstract, instrumental music should be, totally engrossing. The compositions are full of rich, lingering string arrangements hovering over drone-like rhythms, repetitive pieces that flow and ebb so seamlessly into one another that it's easy to lose track of time. The result is a full, 38-minute experience that hypnotises the listener, pushing all other sensory stimuli – colour, movement, people, the jingle of your phone – to the periphery.

Kent's true achievement as a composer is that she makes it all sound so effortless. Temporal is generally smooth and sonically pleasing, less spiky and discordant than 2015's Asperities, and is extremely intricately crafted. It possesses just the right amount of repetition, shifts in tone and instrumentation to keep its listener engaged and fascinated until its closing moments. It sounds simple, and yet there's so much going on – like the layers of plucked and sweeping cello strings, the patter of percussion and gorgeous piano trills on Floating City, or the electronic, needle-like hum bristling under the main melody in opener Last Hour Story. As if wanting to strip it all back for the closer, the last piece Crepuscolo revolves around one clean piano pattern – relatively free of effects – and it's the most heart-stoppingly beautiful track on the record. A stunningly controlled and moving work, for fans of ambient and instrumental music Temporal is a must-listen.

Listen to: Last Hour Story, Crepuscolo