Julia Kent – Temporal

Photo by Mikiodo

Time always escapes, slipping without ceasing through the palms. It’s over before you know it. Julia Kent’s Temporal acts as a meditation on both time and the transitory, fragile nature of existence. Temporal has an intimate relationship with that of the physical world. The world influences and puppeteers Temporal’s tonal density in the same way that gravity tethers bodies to the Earth. The strings long to break through these restrictions and barriers, but they’re suppressed by physical pressures and invisible hands. Much of the music on the album was originally written for theatre and dance, but Julia’s music encompasses so much more than the two platforms, becoming something universal and relevant to all; we’re all caged within the same world, susceptible to the same rulebook. The weighted strings seem heavier than usual, too, always bending to the rules of scientific law.

Releasing January 29 on The Leaf Label, the Canadian cellist and composer imbues her music with a fragile, breakable side, too, which is evident not so much in its tone but in its message: everything is fleeting, and everything is delicate. Nothing lasts forever, and the future is never guaranteed. We’re all just passing through. Julia’s music entertains the subject of impermanence by occasionally becoming frantic and worrisome, its incessant, tight rhythms ticking away like the seconds on a clock (pretty apt as we enter a new year), while at other times it seems to calmly accept its fate as a natural thing, because the gradual decline, decay, and erasure of one’s existence is certain: it’s been happening since birth. Time slips through the palm.

Julia sampled voices from a theatre production before processing them, transforming them into barely-recognizable shapes and tones which hang in obscurity. Existence is always changing; it can end at any moment. The sudden onset of anxiety plagues ‘Imbalance’, but the following track, ‘Conditional Futures’, opposes and suppresses it with an unannounced calm stirring of ambient. There’s a chance to regurgitate an imbalance, to detox it by bringing it out into the open, getting it out of the system. Afterwards, the music seems to be perfectly okay with the knowledge of all things having to pass on; it accepts things as they are in a calm manner.  Electronics remain soft, out of the limelight, while the strings gracefully unravel, ageing every second, yes, but doing so in a way like fine wine, maturing and growing ever more respectful in its later years. Skin becomes worn. Grey shines through. There is no past recurrence of dissonance or stress – everything has melted away with the passing of time.

Julia’s evocative phrases can be stress relievers, but frantic rhythms disturb the mind. One can feel the breeze – a whirlwind – of passing dancers as they manifest and enact a perfect impermanence, a beautiful freedom uniting physical and aural movement on the stage. Julia’s instrument shares in its energetic revolutions, existing in the same field, creating one storm. But the period of twilight comes to us all, and the music’s coda turns darker until only the silence remains, the circle complete.

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