As a faint trace of light levitates in the air, it illuminates and then penetrates the frosty glass of the window. White orbs float by as the shaft of light passes through, and its golden prism lands on a dusty shelf, brightening the study. Out in the fields, the cello breathes in the cold air and then sighs, ghosting over England’s fog-lit country lanes. At dawn, the fields open their eyes as they’re awakened by a kind apricot light – it’s unique to England. That’s the music of Library Tapes.
Escapism has a lovely, tender feel to it. ‘Running by the Roads, Running by the Fields’ introduces a piano that dances gracefully on the tips of its toes. It’s the sound of an early morning in the coldest season. The cello is forever dressed in gold, and the piano sustains her. But like life in general, it’s also a frail and fragile sound. It’s something to savour. Extremely delicate lines play on as the piano accompanies her on her path. Sweeping, soft phrases come to light, and generally the tone is gentle and soporific. The cello’s a thoughtful instrument, and she opens her heart out here. Her low, husky voice quivers with a little vibrato as she recalls specific, glowing periods in a life well lived, be it ‘A Summer by the Sea’, ‘Silhouettes’ that pass by, or, an inescapable emotion that we all have to experience, ‘Tristesse’. Sadness is a real thing whenever the cello is involved, but it’s only lightly pursued here. The piano always drags the cello back up onto her feet. Her pure eyes light up with just a glimmer of a tear, but in the end her slow, graceful charm pulls her through.
‘Feathers’ is lighter. The cello drifts in and out, pausing for breath now and again. The piano passages pick up speed, and as they do the whole piece drives forward. It presses in, and then backs out and away. The cello, played by Julia Kent, has a tender, emotional depth; it’s trying to get to something deeper. The piano and celeste, played by David Wenngren, do more than just support the cello. With closed eyes, the music wraps itself around you. The cello knows of pain and sorrow, but like a good, consoling friend the piano is there for her. She listens and reassures. She’s aware that love is always the stronger of the two. The two silhouettes hover over the music, linked so closely they could be holding hands.
Maybe they are.
Every second is a single, precious moment. Library Tapes knows this – every note, every shudder of the bow, is played as if it’s the last. Like a piece of dusty jewellery, the music sparkles, but its colour has been dulled. ‘Achieving Closure’ helps to banish the shadows. Chimes ring out as the cello swoops and swoons, bringing with it a light as bright as the earlier sun. With its delayed hope, it pierces the frosty glass of the soul.