Rolf Julius - Raining

Rolf Julius – Raining
(Western Vinyl)

What do apartments, public buildings, cellars, solitary forests, beaches, and noisy cities have in common? For Rolf Julius, these places were linked for their potential to be “rooms of stillness”. The term, according to Julius’ friend George Thomas, who provides a preface to Raining, outlines the notion that one may find in all these places areas of retreat and tranquility. 

Thomas distinguishes the type of tranquility that Julius was interested in from a kind of “dumb” tranquility, and though that's rather vague, I feel it refers to a superficiality commonly associated with mood music, sunsets, and the like. Julius envisioned well beyond these trifling associations, seeing and hearing his “rooms” as areas of busy, repetitive, quiet and noisy sonic activity, where a harmony can be struck between music and environment. 

The near-hour spanning title piece perfectly exemplifies the small music series that emerged from these ideas around tranquility and liminal space. The work can be thought of as the musical equivalent to treading water, the sounds working furiously below the immediate surface, while above, everything drifts gently along, never exactly sitting still. High frequencies cycle in and out of the listener's perception, mingling with the sounds of rain, the low of cows, and sounds whose origins it becomes impossible to distinguish between natural or electronic. It all adds up to something quite mesmerizing.

There are two other shorter tracks on the album, and together the three work well as a whole. Track 2 is a 15 minute composed work not specific to an installation, incorporating what sound like more electronic elements but propelling forward rather organically. The final piece, "Music for a Glimpse Inward" is of an installation from 2005. It's rather short at just over 5 minutes, showcasing bird sounds and subtle inflections from the composer's hand. Raining is a delight to say the least.

Rolf Julius - Raining (extract) by ScrapyardForecast

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