Many Rooms
There is a Presence Here


4.2
excellent

Review

by house cat STAFF
April 13th, 2018 | 32 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A Sigh At the Sky

Hollow Body was a chapter constantly revisited. No listener, no stranger, no random YouTube commenter could possibly know the specifics of Brianna Hunt’s trauma, and rightfully so. It was only a few songs and it stretched on forever. Whoever the muse was that inspired these songs (or, say what you see: they were obituaries, probably, languishing alongside plaintive acoustics), I’m sure they can be found in the gutter – battered and bruised, sporting a broken nose to accompany all the souls, hearts, and dreams that suffered the same fate. Last year I said that Hunt spent the EP “tip-toeing around an empty house”. If There Is A Presence Here proves anything, it’s that she still hasn’t left.

The beginning is the end is the beginning is the end is the…

She remains stalked by the past. Her and her trauma are trapped in a cycle together, as it so often goes. In Nonbeing, Presence… arrives already defeated, and just like everything that follows, the vocals here are lo-fi, pushed back into the depths of the mix to signify how her fractured psyche washes out her perception of the outside world. It’s cliché, but: the grief and the ennui are everywhere on this album -- the weight of isolation forces Hunt to exist in solitary confinement while life wonders about, unaware, just outside the door. The cycle, as it were, starts with the trauma, which leads into depression, which feeds into our victim’s fear of said trauma. The beginning is the end is the beginning is the end is the…

Jesus, I’m being presumptuous and I’m being an asshole. I can explain: the album is dark, it has song titles like The Nothing or This Place is Haunted and lines like "Father, am I just a whore"". A host of spectres drift in quiet corners and parts of the record feel like an exorcism we accidentally stumbled in on. I’d feel guilty listening to it if it didn’t sound like Hunt absolutely, unequivocally needed a stranger to confide in. As a musician, she knows better than anyone that a burden shared is a burden halved, and in Danielle, she’s desperate to lift the weight, intoning in a fragile murmur: Mother I’d like to think, when I weep, you weep”. It gives her momentum; listen to it, the guitars snowball and the ambience wails like spirits rustled out of dormancy. It grows difficult to discern where the instrumentation ends and the atmosphere starts. The beginning is the end is the beginning is the end is the…

The voyeurism intensifies as one realises this cycle isn’t budging, or wavering, or showing any such sign of strain under the weight of its growing audience. Brianna, however, seems to have found an opening -- a barely perceptible gap in the panelling where the light (tired metaphor, I know, but this record beckons that dichotomy: light and dark, life and death) coyly seeps in. Call it God, call it Courage, but Hunt finds herself at that midpoint where she understands the necessity for patience. ”I’m trying to be more honest”, she sings in Dear Heart, immediately after lashing out: ”Why did you refuse to answer me"” because, she eventually understands, she was asking the wrong questions. No more lashing out. There Is A Presence Here is the end of "God, will you take me away", and the beginning of "God, will you help me gather the strength to find my own way out". I hope He's a fan of ambient folk music.



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ramon. CONTRIBUTOR (5)
courage, dear heart...

related reviews

Hollow Body

Comments:Add a Comment 
ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
April 13th 2018


2333 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Jesus, I’m being presumptuous and I’m being an asshole."

pos (gottem)

FreddieDelaney31
April 13th 2018


3983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is like the Midwife album from last year but way sadder and possibly even better

Digging: Petal - Magic Gone

ZippaThaRippa
April 13th 2018


10407 Comments


Nice album cover

trash writing as usual, 1000 words to say nothing

ZippaThaRippa
April 13th 2018


10407 Comments


Oops wrong review, you're fine Jack

BeyondCosby
April 13th 2018


2100 Comments


Calm down with that rating there.

AdolfChrist
April 13th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After reading all of that, i still have hardly any idea of what this sounds like.

Digging: Ripper (CL) - Experiment of Existence

FreddieDelaney31
April 13th 2018


3983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A Record by Laura Stevenson but in slow motion and underwater (and a lot more visceral lyrically)

AdolfChrist
April 13th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

just listened to Which Is to Say, Everything, and uhhh...wow.

FreddieDelaney31
April 13th 2018


3983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A good wow I hope?

AdolfChrist
April 13th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oh yeah

FreddieDelaney31
April 13th 2018


3983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Ayyy happy to hear

verdant
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2018


2182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

"After reading all of that, i still have hardly any idea of what this sounds like."



i don't understand, are you supposed to be able to hear an entire album in your head after reading a review?

AdolfChrist
April 13th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the reader should at least have some semblance of an idea of what it sounds like after theyre done reading.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2018


2182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

huh, fair, i guess. i gave you a genre and a few passing descriptors but in this case theme and the personality of the musician is super important and (definitely for me, at least) the major drawcard for potential listeners. ergo i deliberately didn't focus on the sound. i get that you have your prescribed method for writing a typical review, but it seems like every single time i decide to forgo description of sound for discussion of thematic content someone breathes down my neck for it.

AdolfChrist
April 13th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think all it needs are a couple (more descriptive) examples of things that are happening in the music, and the genre could have been brought up much earlier. it doesnt get brought up until the very last sentence and it would have been easier for me to get some idea of what this was if i had that basis to go off of. re-reading it now having that "ambient folk" tag in my head, it makes more sense.



anyways, those are just my thoughts, im a mediocre reviewer so what do i really know.

verdant
Staff Reviewer
April 13th 2018


2182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

i guess i've just read plenty of reviews that don't talk about sound much and i've been entirely convinced to check the album out myself -- spoiler free, in a small way. check ramon's review of this; he also glosses over the sound but his writing is so wonderfully scatterbrained i get an idea of how the album is going to resonate with me emotionally. don't self yourself short, either : )

SlightlyEpic
April 14th 2018


5800 Comments


as a counterpoint to the criticism on description, i came away from this review with a pretty solid idea of how this must sound (or at least how it must feel to listen to, which is the most important part of listening to music for me); "tip-toeing around an empty house" is particularly evocative

i much prefer reviews that describe the feel of something than a (relatively speaking) banal description of its component parts

(also this review made me want to listen to this, so that's something)

SlightlyEpic
April 14th 2018


5800 Comments


(as an aside: tickled by the idea of writing about the imagined internal world of the musician based on the music evoking an idea of the sound of the music itself, so many degrees of separation there)

AdolfChrist
April 15th 2018


16280 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

interesting how she used a part of Hurt by NIN on this version of Hollow Body. it works really well.

Taxt
April 15th 2018


1121 Comments


Sounds like I would dig this, nice review! Will check for sure.



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