Raum
The Event of Your Leaving


4.5
superb

Review

by JamieTwort CONTRIBUTOR (29 Reviews)
November 26th, 2013 | 75 replies


Release Date: 11/15/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Liz Harris and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma craft an album of exceptional beauty with what is one of the most interesting collaborations of the year.

In music, the correlation between audio and visual representation is something that is rarely explored to its full potential. While it could be argued that any album displaying careful consideration towards its artwork in relation to its musical content is in fact exploring this connection to some extent, very few artists go beyond this. Raum’s Event of Your Leaving however, is one notable exception.

Event of Your Leaving is the first album by Raum, a collaboration featuring Liz Harris (Grouper) and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, two names that are synonymous with the current ambient music scene. Harris and Cantu-Ledesma first collaborated back in 2012 when they performed together at the Transmediale Festival in Berlin, playing an 8-hour composition by Harris called Circular Veil, a piece that was designed to create a musical backdrop for those in attendance to sleep to. To do this in a live setting was a suitably daring concept for two of the most creative minds in modern music and this forward thinking approach extends to the duo’s first studio project where there are some equally intriguing concepts and ideas.

The music of Event of Your Leaving is, amongst other things, an audio interpretation of the artwork of Vija Celmins, which brings us to the connection between audio and visual representation. Celmins is best known for her photo-realistic drawings, the subjects of which include natural elements such as the sea and star fields in a night sky, as well as other more intimate details such as the structure of a spider’s web. With the five pieces that make up Event of Your Leaving, Harris and Cantu-Ledesma have excelled in recreating the atmosphere and abstract beauty of Celmin’s artwork through music. The album’s gentle, flowing and often minimal instrumentation combined with Harris’ ethereal vocals reflect the encompassing nature of Celmins’ drawings as well as their notable lack of a (visual) reference point.

Album opener and longest song on the album, In Stellar Orbit appears to be inspired by Celmins’ star field drawings. With its layered instrumentation and carefully crafted sound waves this appropriately vast piece floats along taking the listener on journey through the star filled spaces represented in the aforementioned images. Like the album as a whole, In Stellar Orbit manages to enchant and draw the listener in with its ethereal beauty, something that both Harris and Cantu-Ledesma have excelled in with their solo works. Penultimate track, In Held Company is particularly effective in submerging the listener with its ambience; with very little compositional variation it allows the gentle waves of sound to wash over the listener, mimicking the calming effect that the soft wave patterns depicted in Celmins’ ocean images have on the viewer.

As well as being an interpretation of Vija Celmins artwork, Event of Your Leaving also possesses a deeply emotional and contemplative quality, acting as a soundtrack to clouded memories and dreams. This allows the listener to connect with the album on a much more personal level, particularly during the album’s title track which is perhaps the most emotionally evocative piece on the album. The slow, repetitious piano notes which dominate the song are sombre yet beautiful in their simplicity and combined with Harris’ haunting wordless vocals create a feeling of melancholy and longing that is reflected in the song’s title.

Such is the album’s consistency it’s hard to pinpoint any obvious standouts, or indeed any weaknesses. Every song has its place and the album flows seamlessly from one track to the next, with even the occasional moments of slightly prolonged silence in between them seeming to serve a purpose (see that which follows the fade out of In Held Company leading into Blood Loss). There is little variation in sound or style over the album’s 38 minute duration but this is hardly a negative given that one of the album’s biggest assets is its fluidity. The consistent overall atmosphere of the album combined with ever so slight changes in mood creates a flowing journey through the mind of the listener, one that is made even more powerful when coupled with Celmins’ artwork that provided the inspiration for these beautifully crafted soundscapes.

With their first collaborative album, Harris and Cantu-Ledesma have managed to create an album that stands shoulder to shoulder with the best albums in their respective discographies. Event of Your Leaving is every bit as enchanting as Grouper’s A I A and every bit as evocative as Ledesma’s Love is a Stream, and combines some of the best qualities of each of the two artists involved. Amongst many other things, Event of Your Leaving demonstrates how visual art can be translated into music by blurring the lines between the two mediums in a way that is rarely seen or heard in music, this alone makes this album an essential listen for anyone interested ambient and drone music or even music and art in general.



Recent reviews by this author
Little-Blood CoagulateRoy Harper Flat Baroque And Berserk
Bob Dylan Nashville SkylineVenn Rain Crepuscular Raze
Ian Anderson Homo ErraticusPeter Green In the Skies
user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Up there with my favourite albums of the year so far. Album seems to have passed under the radar on Sput so it would be good if this got a feature, although I might be slightly too late.

As always, comments on the review would be greatly appreciated.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Also for anyone interested in seeing Vija Celmins work (the artwork that the music on this album relates to):

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/vija-celmins-2731

bodiesinflight57
November 26th 2013


870 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great record and nice review. Have you heard the Slow Walkers (Harris / English) collab too?

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks. No, still need to check that one out.

omnipanzer
November 26th 2013


21621 Comments


Well if something drove you to actually review it I'd probably better check it out stat.

Digging: We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2013


6208 Comments


I glanced at the genres these guys are filing under, Jamie have you listened to the new Vaura album?

If yes, how do Raum compare to them?

Will read asap.


Edit:

Congrats on the feature!

Digging: Seduced (AT) - The Proclamation

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 26th 2013


15052 Comments


really need to listen to this

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well if something drove you to actually review it I'd probably better check it out stat.


It was its connection to visual art that was one of the main things that drove me to review this as that's something that interests me and that I enjoy writing about. Obviously the quality of the music was part of the incentive too. I think this might be a bit too ambient/minimal for your liking judging what I've seen you say about other ambient-related albums in the past, but I could be wrong.


@Voivod: Never listened to Vaura but looking at their genre tags I wouldn't have thought this is all that comparable. I'd say this is more on the ambient/drone side of things than the shoegaze/dream pop side.

CaptainDooRight
November 26th 2013


29966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well have a pos. Well written review. I don't listen to much of this style but I'm. Perhaps I'll have to listen to this.

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

omnipanzer
November 26th 2013


21621 Comments


Very well written sir.
POS

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't listen to much of this style but I'm. Perhaps I'll have to listen to this.


Think you missed out a word in there but I get the gist ;)
Seeing as I know you like some ambient music I think you would enjoy this, especially given the connection to visual art which I know is something that interests you as well as me.


Thanks Omni.

CaptainDooRight
November 26th 2013


29966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I looked at the link and really liked his pictures especially his space pics. Gonna read his bio later. This sounds like something I may really enjoy. Do you have any links you can provide or where i can find his music.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The images this was inspired by (the ones you've seen from the link) are actually by a woman who's not actually a member of Raum.

I can give you a link to the one song from here that's on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TKqhUbzztE

Don't have a link to a stream or anything I'm afraid.

Out of interest are you familiar with Grouper? She (Liz Harris) makes up half of this collab.

CaptainDooRight
November 26th 2013


29966 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've listened to Grouper before.

Also just listened to that track and it sounds great bro. Def mellow. I've been dm'ing in plug for the last 4 hours so that was pleasant on my ears as a palette cleanser m/

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet, glad you liked it. Haha I can imagine.

Wadlez
November 26th 2013


4403 Comments


Ambient, shoegaze, dream pop. The trifecta!

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Feature, sweet.

Relinquished
November 26th 2013


25219 Comments


this is for all the premature 2013 lists

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 26th 2013


21048 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yep.

Jruined
November 26th 2013


1301 Comments


Jumping on this ASAP.

As an aside because it was mentioned, I really like the new Vaura and Selenelion.

Digging: Scott Walker and Sunn O))) - Soused



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy