Laura Cannell – Beneath Swooping Talons

Album Review by Gary Kaill | 13 Aug 2015
  • Laura Cannell – Beneath Swooping Talons
Album title: Beneath Swooping Talons
Artist: Laura Cannell
Label: Front & Follow
Release date: 28 Aug

Laura Cannell's (bloody) chamber music is the kind of artistry that pays back the courageous listener in spades. Her album notes speak of "pure music without human interception," and insomuch as Beneath Swooping Talons is entirely without artifice, seeming to emerge fully-formed from the earth itself, it's a description more than befitting of this, her second solo album. But that, of course, would discredit her own undertaking and achievement here.

Performed solo on just fiddle and recorder, these ten pieces present as a daring reworking of 'early music' and while Cannell's avowed love for medieval forms is evident, she's playful with tradition rather than deferential. It's a fragmentary work, reliant for its (considerable) impact on tone and structure rather than pinpoint narrative or immediate melody but, in how it seems to communicate a vivid rural idyll (All The Land Ablaze; Born From The Soil), it connects on a deeply spiritual level.