Canadian bowed guitarist Caton Diab has given life to a sobering album. Exit Rumination is a letter to Port Hardy and is inspired by life’s seasonal turbulence. For Diab, this strikes close to home and is given added relevance via his recent ups and downs.
Rippling strings meet throbbing electronics, and they’ve both been smudged by a heavy deluge of rain. The downpour sweeps all else aside, drowning the guitar’s notes in a muted, closed tone and dripping onto the cello’s sound, causing it to shiver in the dark. That darkness gathers in the corner, and it spreads like a growing puddle. Exit Ruminations tingles with a damp vibe, its tiring body moving beyond vanilla sadness and into an unshakeable melancholia. All systems are perilously close to shutting down; it wants to give up after a long and futile fight. It’s spent.
An electronic melody repeats its prevailing pattern, mirroring the non-stop fall of coastal rain, standing in the background like a lone figure while the rest of the notes slip quietly into icy gutters. The music travels a bittersweet road of reminiscence and passes through the lost highways of yearning (highlighted in ‘On The Beach’). Deep strings regurgitate the episode, processing a troubling thought until the music (and the mind) can fathom it. The languid breaths of ‘Rise And Shine’ unfold in a series of tired tidal waves, but the arriving horns turn up the colour, increasing the brightness.
The tempered growls of distortion make for an upset stomach, sloshing about uneasily and chemically-altering the mood of the track in the process: peace to conflict, sadness to anger. Its clenched fists summon up an inner rage at the situation, but the distortion never overtakes the melody or the initial motif, and it doesn’t present a serious threat. Exit Ruminations ends with a beautifully-decaying piano, its ivy creeping up and over the eyes of the track, blinding it with that muted, delicate timbre. As if it were trying to un-see the past couple of years. Music provides the way out. She’s always been the exit.