Sarah-Jane Summers – VIRR

Album Review | Eighth Nerve Audio | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

When Sarah-Jane Summers confided in me, “it doesn’t fall wholly within the traditional genre”, little did I know precisely how far removed from your common or garden fiddle tunes album VIRR actually is.  Highly experimental at its core, the twelve-track concept album explores the sonic possibilities of the viola and fiddle without bothering us with actual tunes.  The plucks, scrapes, taps, pats, rubs and lovingly rendered caresses allow us to eavesdrop upon something intimate, whilst Sarah-Jane investigates, experiments and ultimately flexes her curiosity, conducting her sonic inquisitiveness with a devoted touch.  Each of the pieces reflect the forces of nature in terms of the weather, each named by Norwegian terms such as “Katrisper” (a strong gale), “Aitran” (fine rain) and “Unbrak” (the beginning of a thaw).  This daring adventure could be taken as Avant Garde in its concept, but at the same time, allows us to feel the wood, the catgut and the horsehair like never before, with only the hint of a musical air, so we needn’t overly worry ourselves about getting up and taking our partners.  Astonishingly creative.