Character – Julia Kent

‘Character’, the third full-length studio album by Cellist Julia Kent incorporates classical styles of Cello with loop-effects and electronic percussion. Kent’s albums comprise of instrumental music played on the cello, which then uses loop-effects to help build up layer upon layer of instrumentals, all of which helps compliment each other and create the music. It is somewhat of an unusual style, as it doesn’t necessarily adhere to classical conventions of composing. Kent’s style hasn’t strictly speaking changed all that much from her first album release ‘Delay’, and yet it sounds just as original and creative as it did when Kent’s music was first released.

‘Character’ is a very interesting album, in that it has a lot of depth and emotion to it, purely through the playing of instrumental music. It goes to show that sometimes, you don’t need lyrics or vocals in a song to communicate the emotion. Sometimes, the instruments themselves can express so much itself, that it vocals or lyrics aren’t needed at all. It’s here we can see the classical elements of the music being used, as it goes back to the simple playing of instruments to help express the music itself. As an album, I find ‘Character’ to be one of Kent’s most interesting pieces of work yet. The music is incredibly dark and harrowing at times, with it even sounding incredibly sad . There’s an incredible amount of emotion being demonstrated in the music, which is all communicated purely through the playing of the cello. As the music loops over itself, it helps to build up the story through the emotion it is expressing.

‘Character’ is perhaps the best of Julia Kent’s albums thus far, but it is incredibly inaccessible music. I’ve often found that a fair amount of people don’t enjoy music with classical elements, and that the ones that do, aren’t too fond of modern-classical music. Perhaps it’s just something about the people I know, but it is what I’ve noticed. It makes me think that Kent’s music really does fall into a niche which has an incredibly limited audience, and only appeals to a very small number of people. It doesn’t mean the material on the album is weak though. As an album, ‘Character’ is easily the most interesting of Kent’s releases, as a complete album, it works on most levels, with the music being interesting, if it is indeed music that interests you. I find that there is enough variety on the album to keep everything interesting enough to not be boring, which is something I find happens a lot with modern-classical albums.

Overall, I’m impressed with Julia Kent’s ‘Character’. It seems that the style she has worked on is now being perfected, and it sounds even better than it has done on her previous albums. I feel that as an album, it is easily the best of what she has released so far, which is saying something as I found her previous albums to also be very enjoyable. It is music that is in an incredible niche however, but within its niche, it works on many levels. The raw emotion in the music makes for what feels like an incredibly sad yet beautiful album of music, which really helps show the creativeness that Kent has in composing.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Transportation
  • Flicker
  • Only Child
  • Intent
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