Rïcïnn : Lïan

2016 : Blood Music
Format : CD

I’ve been a longtime supporter of Finnish label, Blood Music. I think one of the things that I’ve enjoyed about the label over the years is his daring to annihilate the boundaries of musical genres. A lot of the stuff released on the label is definitely out there, particularly for the staff here at Plague Haus. His recent foray into certain electronic projects has no doubt drawn a legendary amount of attention to the label, giving smaller artists the opportunity to have their music heard. Prior to the first chords being struck on this particular record, I had no idea who Rïcïnn was. But there was something else that intrigued me; and that was a particular piece from the band’s biography:

“Language is the reason behind Rïcïnn, in reaction to her difficulty to express herself to a world in her “native tongue”, the need to reach for a higher form of communication and translate her imagination to others. Still as a child, she concocted magical remedies and verbal formulas to help others heal their wounds, with time she ended up inventing her own language. Using her voice as a tool of emotional conduction, avoiding words and other impediments to vocal expression. Improvising into becoming herself.”

Linguistics is something near and dear to me. But it’s something that can only take us so far. Particularly when reaching out to other cultures. On Lïan, Rïcïnn has dipped her hand into the still waters of everything from ambient and folk music to more grandiose gothic pieces in order to communicate and express herself. While Lïan is definitely music for a rainy or foggy day there are plenty of uplifting moments present on the album. Rïcïnn’s vocals rise and fall majestically with the music on the album. It’s very much an operatic and theatric presentation when viewed as a collective. I think it identifies more with a kind of performance art than anything else I’ve heard in a while. “Little Bird” is one of the much softer and somber sounding pieces the album offers. But there’s a certain heaviness left lingering in the air that can be felt on the rest of the album. “Laid in Earth” is another piece that I thought stood out on the album. It showcases some of the strongest music on the album, particularly by way of Rïcïnn’s piano playing. The strings on “Sïen Lïan” are also fantastic and deserve an honorable mention as well.

I think those coming from a background in metal may perhaps find the dark overtones rather intriguing, but at the same time I can see it falling flat with that crowd for the simple fact that it doesn’t have the confrontational tone that they like. I think those with broad and eclectic tastes, specifically students of classical music and art will find this to be a spectacular record. Rïcïnn at times almost feels like a softer and less abrasive Diamanda Galas. Her vocal passages and spoken sections are without a doubt the biggest highlight in my opinion. I went wandering far out of my element in search of something new and intriguing and ended up finding Rïcïnn’s Lïan to be a good listen.

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