Resina - Speechless

  • Wordless music that highlights the potential for unity in humankind as well as the danger of repeating history.
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  • "I was always interested in music which doesn't give you respite," Resina, whose work is centred around her improvisation with cello and voice, said in an interview with SHAPE in 2019. The year before that conversation she released her second solo LP, Traces, recorded in an area of Warsaw that was a site of both the largest Nazi ghetto and the Warsaw Uprising, an event intended to liberate the city from the German forces during World War II. With her new album Speechless, Resina roots this concern for history repeating itself—as well as the hope for progress—in the current and concrete threat to human rights and freedoms in her home country of Poland. She composed Speechless during the Women's Strike—last year's protests in Poland against the near-total abortion ban which has already been linked to a woman's death. On "Horse Tail," the singers of the 441 Hz Chamber Choir evoke the chanting of protestors: distinct but in unison, louder because they're together. As Resina fades them out, she raises the alarm with the sound of cello and drums, including a percussion instrument called the burczybas (a traditional drum with a cord made out of horsehair). The use of burczybas—as well as the ghostly singing throughout the album, and especially on the closing track "Recall"—underlines her interest in those relics of the past that inspired Traces. Resina asks: are things progressing forward, or going back to how they were? Like an epos, Speechless is a sonic poem that narrates the history of civilization. On "Darwin's Finches," with the help of Michał Fojcik, who contributes field recording and sound design, Resina recreates the sounds of nature—chirping, squeaking, trumpeting and singing. But the sources of these sounds are unclear. Processed and wordless, they resemble what could be flesh and blood animals, groups of people, mythical creatures or cyborg hybrids. The blend of sounds and imagery reminds me of Hieronymus Bosch, whom primatologist Frans de Waal references in a TED talk on moral behavior in animals. de Waal's work inspired Resina to abandon the language in favour of other ways of reaching mutual understanding, which include treating voice as an instrument that becomes universal when wordless. For a non-Anglophone artist, choosing a language in which to work is never clear-cut anyway. While there has been a move towards a more linguistically diverse worldwide culture, the English language still gets preferential treatment, not least because the global music industry is so Anglophone-focused to begin with. Making yourself heard can be a struggle on a local level, too: even in a place where all people seem to speak the same language, some groups are still being dismissed or put in danger. On the noise-filled "Manic," Resina channels this sense of threat and panic. And on "Hajstra" and "A Crooked God", she suggests that the aftermath will be dark unless we "Recall" what had happened in the past and take a different path. The gloom of Speechless may be alienating, but it's only through facing the distress in our past and present that we can move towards a brighter future.
  • Tracklist
      01. Mercury Immersion 02. Horse Tail 03. Failed Myth Simulation 04. Darwin's Finches 05. Unveiling 06. Manic 07. Hajstra 08. A Crooked God 09. Recall