Kate Arnold - Rota Fortunae II EP (Soundcloud)

  Van Muylem    16 februari 2021

I met Kate Arnold for the first time when she was the frontwomen of Seventh Harmonic and performed for the first time in Belgium. I noticed her beautiful voice, but she didn’t last long as frontwomen (not long enough according to me, at least). I’m happy that after 20 years she still makes and records music.

I missed the launch of Rota Fortunae I, but at least I can review this one! So let’s start this Electro-medieval loopery on hammered dulcimer, violin and vocals-trip! We get 4 tracks.

First one is Tooth and Claw. I clearly hear the beautiful voice of Kate Arnold who has matured since in met her 20 years ago. The violin and the dulcimer gives it a medieval touch, but you can also hear some electronics in the background. The overall sound is great. I’m sure that if there was no Brexit we would have been able to see her many times on stage in our country. Clockwork Man sounds more into heavenly voices and has some kind of a floating sound (almost a-capella in the beginning). Slowly we hear Kate singing in a (for me) strange language. Kate told me the vocals are mostly in English, but initially sung backwards, then looped in reverse so it sounds forwards. And it is entirely a capella in both of those setions! The final vocals are in Old French. Clockwork Man is inspired by a 1920s sci-fi story about a cyborg from the future (hence the 'travelling backwards' vocals etc). Whilst the previous track reminded me a bit of Dead Can Dance this one goes more into QNTL versus Mediaeval Baebes.Clockwork Man and the next one: Just Born are entirely live-looped. Just Born gets more influences from the dulcimer whilst Kate’s voice gets a real English accent. The violin renders some of the melancholic feelings. I like how the song is getting build up. I also adore the soft outro. In Nomine is a short track: electronically-treated hammered dulcimer version of a 16th-century viol piece by a composer called Picforth. It's an extremely unusual piece for several reasons - worth looking it up if you're interested.

Well, I hope this all wants you to discover the rest of her tracks. I hope to see Kate one day again and will do my best to keep on reviewing her work. Keep up the good work!

Rota Fortunae II (EP) | Kate Arnold (bandcamp.com)