Subaerial is the latest and most sophisticated transmission from the long musical partnership of cellist Lucy Railton and keyboardist Kit Downes, a collaborative history that stretches back thirteen years. From the beginning, the pair bridged musical worlds, with the former emerging from classical and contemporary music and the latter steeped in jazz tradition. This phenomenal new album captures the musicians erasing lines between approaches and traditions. While improvisation has always been a part of their alliance, Subaerial marks the first time that the duo have used recorded improvisations as the core material for a release. The cello and organ, beautifully recorded by Alex Bonney at Skáholt Cathedral, blend in richly striated harmonies, with phrases and cadences that stretch back centuries while sounding unerringly contemporary.
The pair first crossed paths whilst studying in London and spent the following decade collaborating in various groups whilst cutting their own distinct paths. By the time they rendezvoused in Iceland in the fall of 2017 to create Subaerial, Railton had moved to Berlin, where her embrace of electronics was leading her in new directions, exploring microtonality, psychoacoustics, and synthesis, an evolution captured on shape-shifting albums released by experimental imprints like Editions Mego, PAN, and Takuroku. Her debut solo album Paradise 94 released on Modern Love features Downes on organ. Around the same time, Downes had been signed to ECM and was directing much of his focus on the organ—his original instrument—on the two recordings he's made for the hallowed imprint, including the 2019 album Dreamlife of Debris, which features the cellist.
'Effortlessly captures a wide range of human. experience' The Wire
'an open and accessible work, serious and thoughtful but also crackling with the joy of creation' A Closer Listen
'the two blazing a path skywards, cutting unique sonic sculptures from a space that was intended to link heaven and the earth. It's a remarkable achievement.' Boomkat
'both musicians are vital to a pretty stunning release' the Quietus