Francesca Mountfort is a classically trained cellist and composer originally from Wellington, New Zealand. Her recent release Swift & Raven is exceptional for a myriad of reasons but before we get into that let's go back a bit. She started composing in 2002 and wanted to make music that was feminine, fragile and emotional, so she began experimenting with sampling her cello and voice, looping and affecting them. By 2012 she released three albums and was touring with visual artist Tom Hume,
In my opinion words like ”haunting,” “gorgeous” and “beautiful” get tossed around way too often when describing music and perhaps even so on this very website. I can say this is one instance of those words not being used in a hyperbolic fashion. This album is covered in warm melancholy from head to toe. I always loved the sound of stringed orchestral instruments and Mountfort at times can make her cello sound like the saddest sound on earth.
Take for instance “Cosmic Raven.” I mean come on. Tell me that cello isn’t singing to you. What I especially enjoyed about this album was the way her cello sounded like a cello but it was usually slightly manipulated in some way for each song. Another standout track was “My Droplet of Dancing Rain” which adds piano and lush, ghostly vocals.
“Winter Bohemia” is an ethereal affair that swells with strings and emotion. The song moves slowly and doesn't require patience but helps instill patience when you listen to it. “A Conversation” is another emotionally resonant song with overlapping cello parts while “Prelude no.2 in D minor” is a minimal piece that is just as powerful as a full orchestra.
If you have heard and enjoyed artists like Julianna Barwick, Max Richter and Greg Hines you will more than appreciate Mountfort’s songs. It’s disheartening to me that music of this caliber can go relatively unnoticed when so much vacuous music is being pushed into our ears from different directions. The Internet is full of noise but this noise is worth noticing and sharing.
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