thu 30/05/2024

Album: Ruby Colley - Overheard | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Ruby Colley - Overheard

Album: Ruby Colley - Overheard

The natural world evoked in a fusion of folk, classical, electronica and field recordings

'Climate emergency, and strategies of conservation under the topping fire of that emergency, are key themes'

Violinist and composer Ruby Colley combines elements of folk, contemporary classical and jazz with explorations and evocations of the natural world.

Her debut release, 2010’s Murmurations, was a minimalist, paired-down evocation of nature and natural forms, and since then, she has written music for films, collaborated on a range of theatre and dance projects, and played with the likes of Sinead O’Connor, The Unthanks and Cosmo Sheldrake.

Some of the music from Overheard, her first album in 12 years, stems from collaborations with the arts-and-tech AltPitch festival, and a film of the album’s closing track, "The Sea Wrote It", won the festival’s artist commission award. On Overheardshe expands her palette as a sound artist, mixing electronics and field recordings into her violin work – recordings from nature largely drawn from around her home during lockdown, and ranging from birdsong to thunder and rain.

It’s birdsong that opens the album, on “Springs Eternal”, before the pizzicato beginning and fluid playing of “Here Comes the Reign” and the fading daylight otherworldliness of “Sacred Ground’, under which roll throaty rumbles of thunder, while “Edgeland” tilts towards a Haunted Generation evocation of pastoral unease. Throughout, there’s the intent of building connections between the audible world and the internal human dynamics of creation, as felt by Colley through the stillness that lockdown brought to the country in 2020 and 2021.

The climate emergency, and strategies of conservation under the topping fire of that emergency, are key themes, but not frighteners – Colley’s philosophy is based more in what you do in your own back yard rather than draining yourself of all hope at the apocalyptic footage on the telly. That grounded philosophy is set to a music that is delicate and minimal but oozing with lyrical beauty spots and some fine ensemble playing. As well as those deftly placed field recordings from her immediate locale, she employs violin, oud, double bass and electronics to evoke the nature spirits of place and being, of nature’s cycles and life cycles. Its works the kind of spell that puts you in suspension, outside time. Overheard stands out as an enveloping soundscape you may feel sorrow at having to leave behind.


Tim Cumming's website


It’s a music that is delicate and beautiful, subtly minimal but oozing with lyrical beauty spots and perfectly balanced ensemble playing


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters