By Amanda Nordqvist
In a haunting blend of steady, emotive cello and crisp, echoing vocals, Polish cellist Resina recently returned with her latest album Traces – a collection of pieces that all resonate with power and sentience. The album was recorded back in December of 2017 at renowned producer Maciej Cieslak’s studio, located in the ruins of the Wola district of Warsaw – a location heavily affected by the last war – where, undoubtedly, a lot of the darkness from their surroundings seeped into the album. It shows right away with the introducing In, as the tender power of the cello, like a force of nature, claims its space with the gentle touch of a natural born leader; no doubt and no hesitation. The track moves into warmer spaces, then on to more intense ones, with sound waves flashing and spinning and crashing up against you – dizzying and exhilarating.
The romantic Procession follows with sweeping warm notes, a fluttering as of cicadas in the tall grass just beyond us. The whole track, in fact, moves like a leaf floating in the wind, getting swept up in an unexpected turn as the second part comes crashing in; suddenly, strength and independence color the piece, with marching footsteps, bells tolling, and ever the cello, whispering its commands – demanding to be heard all the same. Vibrating just on the edge between wilderness and complacency, the power of the cello equally terrifying and fascinating, we are swept off into Resin, where suddenly the other side of the same artist is portrayed fully: the playful, welcoming, youthful side shows its face, beckoning us unbelievably close to nature. The track has the intensity of a hunt but the innocence of a lighthearted chase, slowly descending into something more mature, more sober, more severe.
In Surface, one of the key elements of Resina’s sound is introduced to full extent – vocals like sirens, calling from the woods, luring us closer and closer. The clarity of the vocals, piercing through the processed sound, makes for an otherworldly experience; with the artist somehow all around us, flashing in and out of focus. Later in the album we are offered another glimpse of the lighter side, as the raw sound of Trigger takes us into a different part of our world. Simultaneously ancient and hyper-modern, the track dances in and out of different eras and continents.
The album ends with the hauntingly memorable Lethe, picking me apart gently – pieces of me slowly drift away, swirling in and out with the vocals. Resina’s voice is far away and then up close, and with the sounds of the deep blue echoing all around me I ask myself – do I float or sink or am I flying? So as the silence settles around me, still she echoes there in the background, this untouched force like a mist all around me, and I am utterly speechless. I feel as though Traces is a flexible, touchable thing, becoming something different to every listener – becoming what it needs to become, saying just what we need (and might be afraid to) hear, and reminding us of exactly that which we need to remember.