I often get burnt out on some genres, so I need to find something that lifts my soul, paints my mood, and soothes my mind. The latest find that does this for me is Rose Riebl’s debut album Do Not Move Stones. The album released on June 18th through INNI Music.
Rose hails from Australia. She is a classical concert pianist that has been gathering acclaim lately, and she has dabbled in scoring films and television shows. Rose handles the piano on this album, obviously, but cellist Ceridwen McCooey joins her, as well.
The music on this release is less “neoclassical” and more cinematic, layered, ambient, and thoughtful. There are climaxes of deft precision and fomenting energy, but also moments of serenity, introspection, and beautiful silence. This is an album of focus, stillness, and reflection. The interplay between piano and cello is gorgeous, to say the least, and makes for some of the most attractive, addictive segments on the record.
Do Not Move Stones is something of a celebration of Iceland, coming from Rose’s visit to that country. Many artists seem taken with Iceland’s beauty and hovering natural emotion, and so Rose joins that crowd to send our minds into vulnerable places of appreciation and understanding; into a world of sound that brings out our connection to the landscape.
It is difficult to describe what I like so much about this record. It isn’t an energetic affair overall, and I’d even recommend not listening to it while you are tired—it is so soothing that you will be asleep quickly (so maybe do listen while tired? I digress). No, this album hangs like a mist within my very soul while I listen, opening doors in my mind and heart that inhibition and stress may have closed. I especially love the presence of the cello here, as Ceridwen often creates a hushed atmosphere for Rose’s piano musings, and the opposite is also true. They each emphasize each other’s strengths and expressions.
The album has eight tracks and is 41 minutes long. Some of my favorites are the light and fleeting “Over Salt Sea”, the cello-heavy “The Other Room”, and the building and spirited “Even As the Light Fades”. That last one has such an evocative, perfect second half that I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Two of the best tracks here are “An Ending, Go Back to the Beginning” and “Two States of Mind”. The former will certainly be one of my favorite songs of the year. I love its gentle beginning, which contains mere flickers of the power yet to come. As the song progresses, it builds and adds layers, and soon a torrent of melody and command erupts into a mighty climax that always leaves me breathless. The latter is the album closer, and it is structured similarly. I love the ambient textures it brings, and the almost Hans Zimmer-esque suddenness of the cinematic peak near the end.
Rose Riebl has a strong debut here. She offers a shadowy, haunting simplicity in the way she composes and performs, but the music is deceptive in just how simple it is. There is genius in this album’s veins, and it flows with precision and emotional expression. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Rose.
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