For almost two decades cellist Rebecca Foon has been a member of Canadian post-rock bands like Esmerine, A Silver Mt Zion and Set Fire To Flames and over recent years has released two albums under the alias Saltland. Waxing Moon is the first album released under her own name and sees a further distillation of her sound, with post-classical piano and her richly expressive voice taking centre stage ahead of the cello.
She’s clearly no stranger to immersive music, something proved by the opening moments here. New World is built around pristine piano arpeggios and Pour sees her add lyrics to dark, glistening pools of sound that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Labradford album.
Another Realm is one of the few tracks where the cello is dominant, a searching piece that slowly gives rise to vividly atmospheric surroundings. At times it sounds like the prelude to a particularly epic Godspeed You! Black Emperor track. This Is Our Lives, another cello-focused track that appears later on the album strikes a more plaintive tone.
Ocean Song has a tenderness, aided by Foon’s elegantly breathless vocals and it all comes together most successfully on the dynamic Wide Open Eyes which combines lusciously reverberating piano chords and soaring, foregrounded vocals. The title track re-establishes the deliberate sense of stillness and contemplation while the fluidity and pathos found in the later moments of the album suggest that Waxing Moon arguably has more in common with new artists like Keeley Forsyth rather than any residual post-rock aesthetic.
It’s such a refined, delicate album it might not noticed on initial listens but Foon calls upon a group of musical associates to provide subtle additional contributions over the course of the ten tracks. Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire plays bass, Sophie Trudeau of Godspeed You! Black Emperor adds violin, Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes supplies discreet touches of electric guitar and Patrick Watson is co-vocalist on the sublime Vessels. Yet, Foon is still very much the central musical presence.
The two albums she released under the Saltland name may have established her credentials as a composer in her own right but Waxing Moon feels a more personal, considered release that should give her the confidence to explore and develop her sound further.