Resina ~ Speechless

How does one speak without words?  Resina answers the question by using voice as instrument and texture, percussion and emotion, howl and hum ~ expressing a massive inner galaxy, worlds upon worlds, all without a single word.  Stripped to basic inflection, the other members of the animal kingdom seem to understand each other just fine ~ so why can’t we?  As she set pen to paper, the Women’s Strikes raged in the streets of Poland, an outlet for those who have felt voiceless.  The presence of the masses, the volume of the chants, spoke volumes, even to those unfamiliar with the language.  The artist ~ also known as Karolina Rec ~ harvests these influences to make a massive statement of visceral power.  Speechless is louder than a speech; it comes across as a roar.

The album is best heard as a whole, beginning to end, as it accumulates density in an exponential fashion: a testament to the appeal of album over single.  This being said, each track is distinctive in its own manner, suggesting the power of the individual as well as the whole: each track, each voice.  Rec’s voice leads off the proceedings, alternately cooing and wailing over a percussive heartbeat, the breadth of life and expression.  Her voice and ever-present cello will eventually be joined by 23-piece 441 Hz choir, which takes the lead on “Horse Tail,” tag-teaming with the staccato strikes of drummer Mateusz Rychlicki.  If the Women’s Strikes sounded anything like this, oppressors would flee in fear; but the sound is so compelling that one wants to join the march, even as sirens sound and the pounding increases.  This is where true power lies.

And then, for a moment, the choir sounds like a choir: soft, holy, pure, giving way to “Tusk”-like drums, the rhythm of a marching band.  In “Darwin’s Finches,” the birds get their due; a symbol of diversity and evolution, Michał Fojcik’s field recordings seem to summon the trees from the dirt, the melodies from the bow.  Then the entire album falls into a volcano at the center of “Unveiling” ~ the exact midpoint of the set ~ before reemerging in new form.  One might consider this moment a metaphor for Resina herself, for societies burned and rebuilt, for mindsets challenged, destroyed and reconstructed.  Glissandos tail from the subsequent piece like embers expelled from a fire or ideas shot from the cannon of protest.  By the end of “Manic,” controlled dissonance steps to the fore, confidently leading the way for the album’s loudest, darkest notes and most frantic charge.

“A Crooked God” begins with a sound like the pounding of cups before tumbling headfirst into a Middle Eastern dance.  Crooked may mean flawed and untrustworthy, but also implies angle and crack.  Is this crooked God the God of ancient cultures, the God of commerce, the God of corrosive masculinity?  Resina leaves the interpretation wide open, confounding expectations with a final foray into the timbre of church choir, without irony or guile: a glimpse at the way things might have been and one day might be, the layered harmonies implying unity, again without words, speechless and yet profound.  (Richard Allen)

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