Rachel Grimes
Book Of Leaves


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
January 8th, 2013 | 35 replies | 4,974 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A testament to what one individual can do with nothing but an instrument and an imagination

Deep within the chaotic, meteorologically ruthless heart of winter, I invite you to shake the snow off your boots and to wisp the chill off of your frost-bitten cheeks by Rachel Grimes’ hearth. Here, you don’t need to gaze into the scantily lit embers of a long-dwindling flame – you are instead entreated to one of the most alluring and sensually tangible classical works in recent memory. Book of Leaves will carry your mind to a place where you can smell freshly cut blades of grass, and all overtop of vivacious, morning time melodies that aurally channel the color green. You will feel, however briefly, the emerging sun plant its first kiss of the season on your skin. As the ascending and descending notes surround you with comfort, your senses will become entirely engulfed by this amazing and often overlooked gem.

Before you let your mind wander into the eternally harmonic Book of Leaves though, I implore you to consider the magnitude of this piece. Performed with nothing but a piano (save the sparse natural samples and outdoor sound clips) the album is a testament to what one individual can do with nothing but an instrument and an imagination – and the results are nothing short of astounding. Classical music is often inaccurately perceived to be a lost art, an outdated genre that died with the likes of Bach and Mozart. While myths such as this are more common amongst the musically uneducated, artists like Rachel Grimes are still doing classical music a valuable service by reinstating the genre’s presence through the power of instruments – which, as any great musician knows, doesn’t need a vocalist to have a voice. That’s where Book of Leaves comes in, with Grimes’ unassuming talents that prove capable of crafting dense atmospheres and lush melodies that will speak to anyone who lends the album an ear.

Often, instrumental works are marred by the ambiguity of clashing dissonance, noisy feedback, overcomplicated ambiance, or in some cases, just poor recording techniques. Book of Leaves suffers from none of these ailments, presenting itself straightforwardly and proudly for what it is. Even in its brazen confidence, few flaws can be found in what can only be described as a pure, elegant bliss. The cheerful ‘Every Morning’ puts a bounce in one’s step with the way that its beautiful and texturally detailed soundscape can be experienced with such clarity – a pleasure that does not abandon the listener for the recording’s whole duration. Then there’s the way that ‘The Corner Room’ begs you to reminisce with it, recounting old friends, childhood homes, and essentially anything in black and white so long as it’s a memory. ‘Far Light’ sounds uncannily like dawn – with intermittent ice-tinged piano notes that resemble frost cracking and fragmenting, preparing to melt into droplets of dew upon a hill that is just now beginning to reflect the light of the morning sun. From start to finish, Book of Leaves takes the most vivid of pictures – the most tangible of senses – and puts them to music through Grimes’ gorgeous piano passages.

The beauty of the album, however, isn’t in what it manages to conjure up in any one person’s mind, but rather that it sparks some kind of poignant reaction in all of us. Grimes’ unadulterated music is the kind that is left wide open to interpretation; true art. Just because ‘She Was Here’ beckons thoughts of solace to this reviewer doesn’t mean that it won’t paint a bleaker picture for the next person who listens. Outside of a few clear motifs – the outdoors, spring time, and nature – everything else is a clean slate waiting to be written on with your emotions and memories. How you receive Book of Leaves depends upon your personal thoughts and feelings, and with Rachel Grimes’ stunning compositions playing in the background, they are sure to be insightful and warm.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Rationalist (4)
Rachel Grimes is determined to tide us over until Spring....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 7th 2013



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

An attempt to cure writer's block (not a new release). This album is getting me through winter.

Digging: Maybeshewill - Fair Youth

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2013



23806 Comments


nice review, sounds interesting. still working through 2012 albums though so I'll probably give this a pass for the time being.

NightmareCinema16
January 7th 2013



2016 Comments


The review was great.

GiaNXGX
January 7th 2013



4867 Comments


great review[2] I'll have to look for this chick.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks fellas. This makes for an amazing night time listen.

demigod!
January 8th 2013



44149 Comments


doesn't sound like my type of thing, but damn that album art is pretty.



Digging: Failure - Magnified

Wolfhorde
January 8th 2013



13011 Comments


Sweet.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

lol posted on the other review by mistake. anyways, i remember listening to half of this album and thinking she really needed the rest of rachel's with her. ill give it another listen since you raved so much

Irving
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



7175 Comments


No relation to that other Grimes, I take it?

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

andyyy
January 8th 2013



1 Comments


this was one of my favorites from 2009. really, can't thank you enough for getting it some more attention. and, good review (:

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What other grimes, Irving?

And no problem andyyy, I stumbled upon it a while back and I haven't been able to stop listening to it.

ProjectFreak
January 8th 2013



1318 Comments


much like Aids, I'll probably get to this eventually, good work sowing

robin
Emeritus
January 8th 2013



4248 Comments


sounds awesome

Jruined
January 8th 2013



1298 Comments


Good deal. Thanks for posting this, I've had it floating on my hard drive for a long time. I throw it on when the mood catches me but it's been a year or so.


Digging: Samla Mammas Manna - Klossa Knapitatet

Conorman11
January 8th 2013



538 Comments


I agree with demigod, doesn't sound like my thing. Damn that was a good review though. I'm listening to a couple of tracks anyways and so far it's looks like i was right.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Glad you liked the review. This is definitely worth downloading if it's even close to your thing, or if you simply want something
relaxing to listen to at night.

klap
Staff Reviewer
January 8th 2013



10327 Comments


review was Shadows-esque in hyperbole but I am suitably intrigued

Digging: Literature - Chorus

Conorman11
January 8th 2013



538 Comments


Does she only do solo stuff? Would be interested to hear her in a band or something.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2013



15889 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

review was Shadows-esque in hyperbole

Hey hey, at no point did I ever say this is the sole purpose of human existence

DurzoBlint
January 9th 2013



1173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I usually enjoy similar music to you, more so than any one else I have seen on here, so I will give it
a go.

Bloodroot is cool.



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