Into Embers by Joseph Ruddleston is a sweeping album that would be a great soundtrack for the sun or rain. It’s genuinely bright, but with a good dose of heavier material that sits within the rich production of acoustic, vocals, harmonies, and that intangible force that we the listener create. Ruddleston has a complimentary blend with his female counterpart, the two joined in similar registers until she occasionally takes over in a breathy coo that falls into verse. By the third track, these singers have set the trap and there’s no turning back. Their relationship unfolds before our ears and the songs become capsules of their beauty, just waiting to be broken open.
The title track, “Into Embers” is one solemn narrative that can’t be taken passively. The power is in the simplicity and the intimacy. The piano is a lovely touch and Ruddleston puts on one of his best performances, really sealing the deal for me. It’s all piercing, whatever it is, the hum of his ground bass and the high notes of ivory that weep – or do they shine? This song is open to a plethora of emotional interpretation. I wish it had developed further because just when I was lost, it was over. I wasn’t waiting to be found either, music isn’t about that - we find ourselves within it.
“Commit” is the best example of Ruddleston’s taste for the intense hush of stripped vocal beauty. His voice enters singularly, and within a minute we have this entrancing volume of five-part harmony, all from his one voice, entering gently and with focused passion. The contra tenor drone, the falsetto color, it all is simply gorgeous. This is the standout track in my eyes, without question.
Ruddleston has material beyond this EP and I would urge you to check it out. His London charm and heart felt lyrics will pull you in with every note. I have to say, the UK is again and again, impressing me with their singer/songwriters. What a gem this artist was to find; I expect to see more of him if this music industry isn’t completely blind. Into Embers brings out the best in what makes music personal, that sense that you are hearing the song from the man himself – in the same room.
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