Review Summary: Solstice: the gorgeous evolution of a promising project.
Winter has descended on the vistas of a wooded realm that first saw the light in 2016, and it’s all the more vivid for it. With Solstice
, Rota Fortunae (David Abbruscato) expands on the sound world established with Vespers
and the warm nylon guitar strings and sonorous cello hums make a welcome return on this new collection of acoustic pieces.
The template is familiar, but there is a notable surge in richness and depth this time around. These qualities extend from the clarity and tone of the instrumentation to the compositional solidity of the music itself. Recruiting a cellist to replace samples and improving recording and production techniques are among the other alterations that aid this four-song set in delivering a bigger punch.
Cohesion, however, is probably Abbruscato’s greatest achievement once again. The music was written and recorded between November 2017 and February 2018 with the goal of creating a “winter” album that channels the moods of the season. The pieces fit together seamlessly within the confines of this guiding theme, progressing effortlessly from lonely guitar arpeggios to ardent climaxes. A prime example of this is when the cello and guitar tackle the forlorn melody of “Midwinter Nights” in tandem and punctuate the song’s finale with refined fervor. It’s impactful and skillfully arranged. The same can be said for album closer “Woodland Refuge”, which features a fluent intertwining of an array of emotions in the music’s elegiac layers, from hope to wistfulness.
shows Abbruscato continuing to forge a path that is at once individual and imbued with the spirit of the style’s masters. Arguably, this little EP surpasses the latest output from some of the genre greats in terms of economy and quality. All that’s missing now is the exposure. Fortunately, the album is receiving promotion and distribution via the nascent web label, The Green Man, so here’s hoping that more and more people will discover this beautiful music.