In one of the most heartfelt albums you’ll ever listen to, artist Rael Jones uses the death of his mother to produce some truly wonderful tracks.
The album, ‘Mother Echo’, consists of ten tracks for piano and string quartet. Each song explores the basics of these instruments and uses them as the vehicle for his personal journey. Speaking about the new album, Rael said:
“This is a deeply personal album for me. I’m attempting to translate emotions and life events into musical structures. My mum was in a car crash when I was six. She spent a lot of time after that in bed with whiplash and presumably depression. I was terrified she wouldn’t be there anymore. For instance, she asked me, ‘would you rather have a mummy in bed like this or not have a mummy at all?‘
The artwork is based on a recurrent nightmare I had around this time – I’m alone in my house being dragged inexplicably towards a strange figure – death in human form.
…It touches my shoulder, our feet lift off the ground, and we fly through the lounge, past my gathered relatives and out of the bay window….at which point I wake up. The cover shows what lies past that window. It’s not so scary after all.“
The tracks on the album point towards poignant moments in his journey with his mum through these moving experiences, for example:
“We scattered my mother’s ashes in the river at a place called ‘The Valley of Desolation’ (track 9). We placed old passports in her coffin to assist her on her metaphysical journey, as she would have it (track 10). And so on and so on.”
Along with his mother as inspiration, the album has Rael‘s wife, Sara Wolstenholme, on first violin. The record is drenched with emotion and tells an incredibly personal story. One track, ‘Know to Know No More’, is a great example of the plethora of emotion Rael has invested in his work. It begins with very soft, soothing tones. With a steady start, the music makes the listener incredibly calm, ultimately keeping you focused on his music.
Soon, the string quartet is introduced, providing another layer to this instrumental. As the two play off one another, we’re presented with some much darker and deeper notes. In turn, this purports a much more negative side to Rael‘s journey and emotions. Later, the violin begins to take centre stage, breaking away from the piano accompaniment. In my view, this signifies he (the piano) and his mother (the string quartet) slipping away from each other.
As the violins leave the piano behind, it paints a beautiful but depressing image of his mother in her latter stages of life. In a change of tempo, the track picks up pace with some more vigorous notes being played by all those involved. This signifies his desire to get his mother back. His realisation that he hasn’t got long left with the woman who brought him into the world. It’s as though Rael is rushing to see her for the last time before she leaves him. Finally, the track comes to a diminuendo at the very end. With this technique, you feel he as though his mother has finally passed on. As well, you feel his hope of keeping her alive dissipate into a non-existence.
As you can see, this album is far from a feel-good one. However, what it may lack in positivity, it makes up for in incredible talent and emotional investment. Another standout track is ‘Passports for a Metaphysical Journey’. With a solemn start, it exudes a heartfelt, but negatively-charged track from the off.
Again the use of strings and piano paint the picture of two characters (Rael and his mum) batting off one another throughout the album. In this particular track, he frequently uses higher notes, suggesting the happier times he and his mum had perhaps? This was to be short-lived though, as the deep, dark notes begin to take precedence once more. Techniques such as this suggest to us that these happier memories were often few and far between and rarely lasted long periods of time. The symphony of noise is elegantly put together in the latter stages of the track. It shows the artists talent to appreciate what sounds work in unison, but also how he can best represent his emotions without lyrics.
Suddenly, the volume drops and we’re left with a very faint sound of the instruments playing out. As the track ebbs away, we get a sense that everything is ending. Sure enough, the instrumental ends in pure silence, signifying the news Rael hoped he’d never have to hear, his mother is gone.
If you wish to listen to more of the artist, follow the Spotify link below
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