Words by Tim Cumming
Harp meets electronica: no cracks in this wall
For this new recording with her partner Graham Fitkin, Scottish harpist Ruth Wall employs both Gaelic wire-strung harp and concert harp, combining their sounds with the electronica patterns of Fitkin’s synthesizers and autoharp. Lost is like a series of musical equations that work their way through the ears into the mind, their rhythmic and melodic themes interweaving, rising and falling. It feels by turns widescreen and microscopic – indeed, the duo have a fine track record of making music for films. There’s much to visualise here, the patterns of the music evoking its own narrative as the harp and Moog merge and separate.
It’s subtle, uncluttered, minimal and extremely focusing. You feel the concept of the album come through: Lost encompasses loss of company, understanding and faculty – and the embracing of such states. This, their third album, proves to be a quiet, cohesive and original conceptual piece.
The pulses and spare pattern-weaving builds throughout to more expressive, melodically bound pieces, with vintage analogue synthesizer basslines and chimes merging with the harp’s clear, limpid strings to create an album that is a thoroughly absorbing world of tension, suspension and release.