Hazel Cline : Spell Song

CD / Tape/ DL

Spell Song is the first album by multimedia artist Hazel Cline, collected from years of
recording experiments and ritual practice. Hazel's sound world is a delicately textured
one that feels familiar and elemental. She weaves a sonic text that blends quiet voiced
mantras in an unknown tongue, birdsong, bottles, bells, wind and breath. Merging field
recording, sacred music and experimentation, it's a beautiful work that is hypnotic yet
grounding. A true sonic tincture for current times.

"...the first recordings really came from how inspired I felt listening to industrial music
and the sound poetry of Kurt Schwitters. I thought it would be amazing if someone
combined sound poetry with industrial music. I don't think I even had any kind of
official instrument at the time. I am not sure when I got my zither, but that was the
first instrument that I purchased for myself. It is probably in some of the later songs.
I have always loved birds and was inspired by birdsong for a lot of those early sound
poetry pieces..."

Whether literal or abstract, the imagery of a farm, or specifically that of a barn/stable/shed,
is often a grand and pastoral one in atmospheric music (and film; see also Larry Gottheim’s
Barn Rushes), a connotation bolstered by the recent surge of “ambient Americana.” But as
anyone who’s been inside a ramshackle wooden structure after the sun has begun to go
down knows, its interior is often not as romantic as its exterior, instead becoming a space
of soggy straw and shadow that seems to whisper your own thoughts back at you. It is here
that Hazel Cline sews the seeds of her humble soundscapes on Spell Song: hands rattle forgotten
trinkets and ephemera, breeze and breath blow across the chipped rims of glass bottles, soft
voice curls in the musty air as both tongues and textures. Apparently “inspired… [by] industrial
music and the sound poetry of Kurt Schwitters,” the Atlanta-based multimedia artist’s sublime
debut leaves both of those influences in the dust in terms of intrigue and nuance, a distinct
sonic dialect all its own growing organically from the humble minimalism of the musical
approach. There is an intoxicatingly cryptic essence to these invocations, but not the sort of
cryptic that begs to be deciphered—rather, the sort that, instead of simply concealing concrete
meaning, abandons it altogether. A nocturnal ritual to some ears, no doubt… perhaps a
dusk-swaddled lullaby to others… but to all, a must-listen foray into rural mystique.

-Noise Not Music