Artist: Shoshana Rosenberg
Title: A Gold Ring in a Pig’s Snout
Keywords: adelaide experimental bass clarinet improvisedqueer Perth
label: Tone List http://tonelist.com.au/
reviewer: Willem van O.
Passionate artists like for example Shoshana Rosenberg have a voice and mind to express things through their art, they will come with conceptual albums or powerful statements. A Gold Ring in a Pig’s Snout’ is clearly a title that suggests that this release is one of them, yet I feel it’s sometimes good to step back & just listen to the actual music before diving into the written idea or statement behind it. Not because expressions and concepts to fight and create for aren’t important, just because the music on its own deserves some imaginative look into it as well.
For example the first work named ‘My Voice, Becoming’ which music wise feels like a recording of an intimate performance in a atmospheric location. The acoustic sound of the space creates something that makes me think of an evening, a corner of medieval stones on the wall and floor, they are shiny and lighted up in a respectful dimmed way. It is here in which the artist plays her clarinet in a way that bounces among the stones, creating a twirling and active playfulness that feels like its growing in a happy hypnotic way. The other sound of rhythm feels to my ears as feet tapping excitingly on the floor; there is something very pure here to be discovered.
‘The second part titled ‘A True Woman is a Broken Woman’ is what the title suggest a bit more down in contrast to the first work. The clarinet can be heard and experienced as if it is a voice that goes through an emotional emotion, something that grabs the attention and is filled with suspension and tension, almost like a swan who has lost her young ones. Something that means everything to her.
Next level is ‘Adornment’ which takes the clarinet to tell a story that you can feel in your heart. The sound teams up with human vocal and somehow hearing this made me shiver, as if the music expresses pain and emotional sadness that will make your mouth dry and the eyes watery.
The composition that has the same title as the album ‘A Gold Ring in a Pig’s Snout’ takes even a step further into the emotive devotional side of music expression. It feels to me like the music expressed is looking back on s hurtful experience, something that is slowly looked upon and processed. It feels heavy, dragging us through it to make the listener experience this emotion that doesn’t seem to come from a happy place. It leaves me feeling saddened even though it’s just emotion generated by an expressive clarinet.
It would probably the end of this release wouldn’t it be that there is Aviva Endean – Response to ‘A Gold Ring in a Pig’s Snout’ at the final end. The music gets a sharper after bite, but it’s still very emotionally charged giving no warm cover or real happy ending, leaving me drained but also pleased. Pleased that even though these tracks don’t have vocal words, the clarinet on its own is capable of being the voice of feelings.
And now at the end it’s recommended to read what Shoshana Rosenberg has written in the liner notes of this release its Bandcamp page and tell me that you aren’t touched by it? There is a huge message right here, but I feel it’s best to hear it first and let the music do its effect before finding out what this emotion expressed is all about. I’m sorry to end with such a serious note, but here is the link to cheer you up: