Emma Ruth Rundle – Return (Sargent House)

Emma Ruth Rundle – Return (Sargent House)

Announcing her seventh studio album Engine of Hell, Emma Ruth Rundle releases sparse single Return and video inspired by Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus.

Emma Ruth RundleArtist: Emma Ruth Rundle
Track: Return
Label: Sargent House
Released: 9 September 2021
Find it: Spotify | Bandcamp

“The successive deaths through which a poet must pass before he becomes, in that admirable line from Mallarmé, tel qu’en lui-même enfin l’éternité le change—changed into himself at last by eternity”, so said Jean Cocteau of one of the three pillars of his 1950 film Orpheus. And it is this principle on which Emma Ruth Rundle seems to be drawing on for her approach, and visual representation, for new single Return.

Following last year’s critically acclaimed collaboration with Thou, and a follow-up EP with them this year, Rundle has returned to her own music with the announcement of her seventh studio album Engine of Hell. In this first single from it we get a sparse piano and voice cracked lament, heavy with the sadness of disappointment. It may well be one more poetic death for this artist, as it references more mythology, lets go of what might have been and accepts what is.

‘A rich belief that no one sees you / Your ribbon cut from all the fates and / Some hound of Hell looking for handouts / The breath between things no one says’

Of the track Rundle said, “An examination of the existential. A fractured poem. Trying to quantify what something is definitely about or pontificating on its concrete meaning defeats the purpose of art making. I’m not a writer. I make music and images to express things that my words cannot convey or emote.

“I’ve been studying ballet and the practice of expression through movement, which I incorporated into the video. I choreographed a dance to the song – some of which you see. Pieces show through. Since completing Engine Of Hell, I’ve stepped away from music more and more and into things like dance, painting and working on ideas for videos or little films. Return is the result of the efforts.”

The single is filled with this sense of ending, and Rundle too has hinted at the culmination of a creative cycle with this album. After a decade of making albums she has said, “For me this album is the end of an era to the end of a decade of making records. Things DO have to change and have changed for me since I finished recording it.”

Fractured, sparse, haunting, simple. Return is a beautiful, disconsolate piece which has you, breath held, awaiting the finality possible with the album to come, and at seemingly witnessing Rundle’s transformation into herself.

Return by Emma Ruth Rundle is out digitally now via Sargent House. Album Engines of Hell will follow on 5 November and is available for pre-order now.

Find Emma Ruth Rundle: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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