A Common Truth
CST123      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC
Reviews
“With a voice equally suited to opening petals and opening wounds, Foon sings to the earth like a mother to a newborn, beaming with hope while gripped with fear. But she also offers an alternate form of resistance: transformation.”
NPR ("I Only Wish This For You" track premiere)

"Let’s get the most important part out of the way: Rebecca Foon’s second album as Saltland is a bona fide stunner. Potentially one of the most beautiful records you’ll hear this year. It makes sweet misery out of melody while articulating a forlorn yet rousing sense of hope. Yes, we’re smitten, but with good reason. There are pop songs of sorts here, notably the enthralling Under My Skin, but their obscured lyrics drift through the fog like whispered, half-heard conversations; it often feels like more of a soundscape than a collection of songs. What lies beneath…is a series of emotional, political and ecological puzzles, where optimism lies parallel to despair (and if you can find a better sonic summary of the socio-political climate in 2017, we urge you to shout about it from the rooftops). There doubtless will be more grandiose political records to come in 2017...[but] we’d bet you won’t want to live with them as long as this one: there are secrets and truths to be untapped, and the way Foon sets to her task is a genuine thrill."
The Skinny ★★★★

"It’s in some ways surprising to learn that A Common Truth, cellist Rebecca Foon’s second album as Saltland, is about climate change. Surprising not because the album lacks anything in darkness or dread—it carries both in abundance—but because it feels so personal, its atmosphere so cloistered and internal. Foon seems to recede to a distant, unlit corner of her own psyche, allowing the music to grow unfettered in the ambiguities of the unconscious. She conceives of her subject in broader terms than your typical political discourse, and as such the material never seems to take place 'out there' somewhere but rather in an aching, frightening within. Composed of four instrumental tracks and five featuring hushed alto vocals murmuring just beneath subtle loops and the superb, sparse cello arrangements, Rebecca Foon has managed to take what could have been a narrow exercise in chamber music and crafted something with real emotional depth and scope. She takes cues from sources as diverse as drone and freak folk while hewing devotedly to her core instrument. No matter your tastes and inclinations, you may be surprised just how affecting the album proves to be.
Popmatters 8/10

"On A Common Truth [Rebecca Foon] has filtered a cause that she cares deeply about through her considerable musical talents. The outcome is bountiful and expansive. Given the weighty issues she has tasked herself with, her approach is humble. For all the beauty on this record – and it is awash with it – this isn’t some fey attempt at political engagement. She crafts a complex and dense soundscape so rich in detail that repeated listens always reveal further treasures. The album successfully shifts between fatalistic mourning and a pragmatic resolve towards optimism, capturing all the problematic and uncomfortable truths surrounding an environment in crisis. This is a quietly powerful, and intensely beautiful, record whose contemplations will bed themselves in your mind and hopefully move you towards caring about the issues raised as deeply as she clearly does."
MusicOhm ★★★★

"A Common Truth offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches… Built primarily from Foon's ethereal vocals and both acoustic and processed cello, that all manifests across the record nebulously, but there's an unmistakable gravity that insures it's all operating in the same realm…Foon's cello loops build stirring, densely populated worlds…[the album’s] greatest strength might be its steadfast, righteous patience…a spiritually holistic, potent dose of manna fit to feed a weathered movement."
Exclaim 8/10

"Exploits the full measure of her instrument's potential by layering and processing, besides featuring it in its naked, unadulterated form. Electronic music strategies such as signal processing and re-sampling are present, too, but applied inconspicuously, their impact often subliminally felt. As this consistently satisfying follow-up to 2013's I Thought It Was Us But It Was All of Us shows, Foon's is a singular artistic voice."
Textura

"Orchestral tones, shoegaze and drone conjure up vast, lonely terrains. Mountainous and haunting. With her cello bow as her chisel, Rebecca Foon sculpts her deepest ruminations into being, daring us to look away."
Record Collector ★★★★

"Had it been released a year ago, A Common Truth would have been a welcome voice in a virtual choir, calling attention to an essential issue; in today’s context, it’s a peaceful protest, a lament, a war cry. While Foon sings on half of the tracks, her voice is as integrated as that of Deirdre Rutkowski in This Mortal Coil; the music wraps around her words like a cocoon. The cello is such an emotive instrument that it’s hard to hear its low tones without a feeling of sadness or dread.  Each emotion is pertinent here.  The timbre lands between modern composition and post-rock, as might be expected from the artist’s pedigree, the music coming across as somber and cinematic. At once an elegy and a statement of injured hope, A Common Truth is a quiet yet insistent question raised by a reporter who won’t go away: how do we break this vicious cycle? "
A Closer Listen

"Besides the first Saltland album in 2013 and her ongoing duties co-helming the consistently brilliant chamber group Esmerine, Foon has devoted much of her recent years to conservation causes and charities, notably co-founding Pathway To Paris, a concert series aimed at supporting the international climate agreement. So it’s no surprise that Foon’s second solo album as Saltland should address the complex emotions around tackling climate change. While the first was a varied mixture of lush dream pop, chamber music and spiraling post-rock littered with guests, A Common Truth is far more intimate, focusing on arrangements and whispered songs erupting around Foon’s distinctly emotive cello. Due to the shifting blend of fear, despair, togetherness, hope and anger that characterizes the battle for climate change awareness, her song cycle aptly seeps its way into all nooks and crannies of the emotional spectrum. The one major guest contribution comes from old friend and Bad Seed Warren Ellis, who fleshes out four tracks on the album with pump organ, loops and violin. “To Allow Us All To Breathe” has Foon’s wordless vocals and aching cello yearning to life over Ellis’s pump organ drones, lamenting the loss of breathable air, only to jump straight to a lullaby-esque piano ballad titled “Under My Skin”. Both the title track and lead single “I Only Wish This For You” seem to have Foon at her angriest, coaxing the cello strings into heavy distorted riffing behind a choir of multitracked Foons. A Common Truth closes with another instrumental duet with Ellis, this time blossoming with some convincing beauty and hope. Its sweetness however fails to quell the feeling of anger pervading this call to arms.
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"A bona fide stunner. Potentially one of the most beautiful records you’ll hear this year. It makes sweet misery out of melody while articulating a forlorn yet rousing sense of hope." –The Skinny ★★★★
 
"Quite honestly, one the year's best." –Soundblab 10/10
 
“Orchestral tones, shoegaze and drone conjure up vast, lonely terrains. Mountainous and haunting. With her cello bow as her chisel, Rebecca Foon sculpts her deepest ruminations into being, daring us to look away.” –Record Collector ★★★★
 
"Bountiful and expansive...[Foon] crafts a complex and dense soundscape so rich in detail that repeated listens always reveal further treasures. This is a quietly powerful, and intensely beautiful, record whose contemplations will bed themselves in your mind and hopefully move you towards caring about the issues raised as deeply as she clearly does." –MusicOhm ★★★★
 
"As this consistently satisfying follow-up to 2013's I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us shows, Foon's is a singular artistic voice." –Textura
 
"Cellist Rebecca Foon has crafted something with real emotional depth and scope. She takes cues from sources as diverse as drone and freak folk while hewing devotedly to her core instrument. No matter your tastes and inclinations, you may be surprised just how affecting the album proves to be." –Popmatters 8/10
 
"A Common Truth offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches. Foon's cello loops build stirring, densely populated worlds...a spiritually holistic, potent dose of manna fit to feed a weathered movement." –Exclaim 8/10
 
"It’s a peaceful protest, a lament, a war cry, an elegy and a statement of injured hope." –A Closer Listen
 
"With a voice equally suited to opening petals and opening wounds, Foon sings to the earth like a mother to a newborn, beaming with hope while gripped with fear. But she also offers an alternate form of resistance: transformation." –NPR
 
 
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Description
A Common Truth is the second album by Saltland, the solo project of veteran Montréal cellist and composer Rebecca Foon. Following the acclaimed 2013 debut I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us, Foon performed Saltland live in various successful configurations, but as the concept and compositions for a new album began to materialize, she wished to further expand on an approach with her cello as primary source for all sounds on the record. Combining unadulterated, processed and sampled cellos, A Common Truth largely reflects this commitment and results in an album of gorgeous integrity, restraint, and meditative intensity. The one notable exception: longtime friend and prior collaborator Warren Ellis (Nick Cave, Dirty Three) is the album's special guest player, contributing violin, pump organ and loops to the album's four instrumental tracks.
 
Working with engineer Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes), Foon has produced a song cycle that alternates between wordless instrumentals and lyric-driven pieces, balancing austere, organic intimacy and lush, multi-layered expansiveness. The analog warmth of Lasek’s naturalistic rock production anchors Saltland’s juxtaposition of dry and processed strings, with the placement of Foon's voice very much within the mix but never veiled or concealed; a voice described as "an instrument of somnolent, gossamer allure which floats gracefully amid the eddying, amniotic music" (Mojo, 2013). Electronic music strategies, via signal processing and re-sampling, are deployed minimally and judiciously – and all the more powerfully as such.
 
A Common Truth also importantly channels other strands from Rebecca's life: the record is about climate change and marks an attempt to musically translate a complex mix of emotional, social and political resonances in this regard. The album's atmosphere and pace is guided by the coexistence of optimism and despair, resolve and resignation, the intimacy of the local/personal and the hope of the global/collective. Foon has devoted much of her life in recent years to working for decarbonization, land conservation and renewable energy – as a member of Sustainability Solutions Group cooperative, as founder of the conservation charity Junglekeepers, and as co-founder of Pathway to Paris, an international concert series bringing together musicians, writers and activists to help raise consciousness toward implementation of a robust international climate agreement.
 
Rebecca Foon's new Saltland album A Common Truth is a compelling coalescence and fullest musical expression of the inspiring trajectories charted by this committed and renowned artist, activist and organizer. Thanks for listening.
 
Release date: 31 March 2017
Running time: 40:53
 
Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom mini-gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with matte UV varnish and a printed inner dust sleeve for the disc.
 
Deluxe vinyl is pressed on 180 gram audiophile LP at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket printed on 100% recycled 24pt Orford paperboard with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, with a 12"x22" art print poster and 11"x11" art/credit insert, and a download code for a 320kbps MP3 copy of the album.
 
Tracklist
1 To Allow Us All To Breathe
2 Under My Skin
3 I Only Wish This For You
4 Light Of Mercy
5 Forward Eyes I
6 Magnolia
7 This Other Place
8 A Common Truth
9 Forward Eyes II
 
Credits
Written and performed by Rebecca Foon
 
Except 1, 4, 5, 9 co-written and featuring violin, pump organ & loops by Warren Ellis
Guitar & MS-20 on 3, 7, 8 by Jace Lasek
Backing vocal on 4 by Ian Ilavsky
 
Recorded by Jace Lasek at Breakglass, Montréal
Mixed by Jace Lasek, Ian Ilavsky & Rebecca Foon at Breakglass
Mastered by Ryan Morey