MUTEKLIVE116 - Julia Kent
WHO: Vancouver-born, New York City-based cellist and composer
STYLE: Looped cello, electronics, field recordings, soundtracks for the cinema of the soul
LATEST: Asperities (2015)
LABELS: Leaf, Important
MORE: Oscar winning director Paolo Sorrentino used her piece, “Gardermoen” in his film, This Must Be The Place.
Operating in the musical twilight between acoustic and electronic, Julia Kent uses her cello to construct looping, layered blankets of melody and texture into expressive soundtracks for the cinema of the soul. Originally from Vancouver but installed in New York City for almost two decades now, Kent travels in pop, art-rock, theatre, dance and film circles. She has played and arranged for The Swans, Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones, William Parker, Barbara Morgenstern, Jarboe and many others. Her film, theatre and dance resume is equally as rich.
Admitting to a troubled relationship with her instrument, Kent stopped played cello for a couple of years after music school. She eventually emerged in a gothic chamber pop group called Rasputina – a trio of cellists – recasting the instrument as the radical lead. A prolific session player for many years, and a member of sweeping orch-pop band Antony and the Johnsons, her four solo records and her live performances continue to reimagine cello as much more than background or support. Using an ensemble of pedals, electronics and field recordings, Kent conjures up ruminative, emotional passages, often from deeply personal places. Excited by the seemingly infinite palette of electronic sounds and with recording and engineering under her direct control, she has developed a harmonious interplay between organic and synthetic elements – feelings and intentions stay in sync and intact. Citing instrumental electronic music as a main inspiration these days she asked Rafael Anton Irisarri to master her latest release, Asperities. Conceptually and emotionally the music expresses a response to conflict: internal, personal and global.
At home in many musical worlds and a veteran live performer, MUTEK welcomed Julia Kent in 2016 for the first time, in a moving and profound performance of her instrumental work.