The Mobius Kiss
(2019 - self release - distributed by Hudson Records - UK)
A delicate and spiritual masterpiece of spatial rite of outflow by Catherine Rudie, who performs vocals, and/or sounds, and guitar on 10 songs in a short but penetrating 35:25 minutes. The hushed nature of her voice and the innocent yet challenging lyrics call attention to issues of our planet and the human impact on careless and often greedy acts. The modern and inventive use of keyboards (various effects and featuring the Roli Seaboard), savory atmosphere, sparse percussion, and measured pace, keeps the suspense and curiosity illuminated. Catherine did the cover art, which was the base images in the tropical hothouses at Kew Gardens in London, overlaid with a lip image often used to illustrate different lipstick shades in online beauty stores. In a witty move, on the title cut 'The Mobius Song', she speaks random words in the background - ‘Honolulu Honey’, ‘Electric Orange’, ‘Clueless’, ‘Safe Word’ etc. These are all some of the most popular commercial lipsticks shades. The various play on words and imagery is hidden in multiple places on the album. A divine and stunning release.
The foundation of what 'The Mobius Kiss' was inspired from was a double blow Catherine experienced with one, being a long romantic relationship coming to an end, and then the creative community being broken up by the gentrification where she lived and had her studio. All the other artists she knew and worked with (note: she was a member of Fresh Tracks Unknown Animals, a collective songwriting group) were also displaced. She found herself in a strange world and one she had to come to grips with. This new frontier opened up surprising avenues, and thus, the old experiences with the new outlook, formed her creative energies for her first solo album. Dualism came to be in an immaculate conception. Nice guest spots from Stephen Hodd (sounds, effects, and percussion or guitar, and also co-produced the album with Catherine), Susuma Mukai (kalimba -track 9), Tom Fryer (piano - track 10), and a small chorus of Chris Brambley, Dianna Shayakhmetova, Jen McBride, Luke Tipton, Sarah Culross, Sheep Mouton, Stephen Hodd, and Uri Sade (sang on track 5). The album began birth 5 years ago when Catherine first wrote 'Harbour of Grudges' and 'God of the Insects'. She composed 'Chasing Wasps' and 'The Crown' a year and a half ago. Everything was recorded over winter and spring 2017/2018, in which she did secretly on weekends in the office at a freelance job she had. It then took around 6 months of final production, and from there, she found distribution from Hudson Records. The journey was long but so worth it to the lucky listener.
There is an auspicious but foreboding message in some tracks like 'Everyday Dangers' (co-written with Becci Wallace), and a somewhat lonely isolated style reminding of Suzanne Vega on several tunes. She can get lush, but 'The Mobius Kiss' is scattered with quaint beautiful short stories, with such a mighty shimmer, that the starkness becomes a dreamy mellow palette of resonance, and is truly addictive. Rudie uses sorrowful folk elements bridged with honest charm and flawless execution in her compositions. She now resides in London, England but her education in Gaelic singing and bagpipe performance, plus growing up in the north of Scotland (Bettyhill), aid her in the skills sweetly intertwined here. Some of the circular songs have a trance-like psalm purity to them. The meditative and reflective qualities abound, and the last cut 'God of Insects' sends chills with The Unthanks similarities. Simply gorgeous to the bone. This singer songwriter's debut claims a place on my TOP CHOICES list for 2019. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 11 - 16 - 2019