Sink Or Swim

Rachel’s – All Is Calm

I come from the ocean, and sometimes, I like to go back there too. I don’t mean in an evolutionary sense, or maybe I do a little, but more than that I mean it practically: I grew up by the seaside and now that I live in a big, busy, smelly, smoggy city, I try to escape to the sea as often as I can, and in any way I can.

Clearly that’s not always easy to do when you live two hours drive from the seaside (the days when I could ride down to the beach to check the surf have passed for shame). So sometimes I try to trick myself with art – whether it’s watching No Friends and Endless Summer, or listening to The Beach Boys and The Drums, you can cheat a little bit of sun and sea into the city sometimes.

So when I discovered Rachel’s’ music (yes that second apostrophe is supposed to be there, no I’m not 100% sure it’s grammatically accurate though!) thanks to a recomendation from @Joffy23, the first album of theirs I downloaded was their concept album about the sea, the (at least 50%) aptly The Sea and the Bells.

Rachel’s’ (nope, that really doesn’t look right does it) music is modern classical, influenced by the work of composers like John Cale, Max Richter and Michael Nyman, utilising found sound and music concrete stylistic trappings but retaining the melodies and harmonies that some of the more experimental of their peers and precursors abandoned for the sake of atonality.

They were formed in the early 90s from the ashes of Rodan, the American indie band who pioneered math rock and post rock, and despite being around for nearly 20 years, Rachel’s have only released five full length albums. The Sea and the Bells, named for a poem by Neruda, came out in 1996, since when they’ve only managed two further full lengths, though when they’re as good as this, a certain amount of tardiness is probably ok!

All Is Calm is a piano led composition that exudes the air of stillness and solitude that you would expect from the title – although the image above is possibly slightly too colourful for the tone of the piece, I think it otherwise fits neatly with the melody and the context of the work.

You can buy The Sea and the Bells from Amazon, or download it from Rachel's - The Sea and the Bells