Solitude sings beautifully on Fold Unfold, a tonal elixir that soothes the inflamed scar tissue on our psyches. Katrine Grarup Elbo’s first solo effort is enchanting and raw. Mainly using her violin and minimal electronic processing, Elbo gently pulls the layers of wallpaper back to find the well-worn, genuine roots of our fears and motivations. Fold Unfold is timeless, each piece a new story that tells of a collective truth about what it means to feel and embrace our mortality.
Echoes hide behind the high-pitched murmurs of “Blue Grapes,” pulling listeners close to whisper secrets in an ancient language. Lackadaisical loops move in unison, back and forth like a figure skater stuck in oil, lulling us into feelings of security. Pushing into the aqueous hum of “Vanity,” those static emotions are jarred loose when her staccato violin passages cut through like lightning in the black sky. The entirety of this section is a reminder not to get too comfortable because something sinister lurks beyond the horizon.
Everything on Fold Unfold is so stripped back that it’s like peering into Elbo’s soul. On the stunning opener, “Plenilunium” she weaves threads of celestial notes together, matter-of-factly presenting stinging memories so we are immediately encompassed in this haunting aural landscape. Heavily processed tones dance on “Interlude for A Weightless Body,” ghosts acting as a distraction to pull your attention from the warm, harsh truth Elbo wants you to hear. “Make The Secrets Productive” steals back the reins, her violin again singing forlornly into the void.
Fold Unfold is a surprising and beguiling debut. Taken out of the comfort, and sometime anonymity, of group performance, Katrine Grarup Elbo is ready to raise her voice and stake out space. The depth of emotion throughout Fold Unfold is entrancing and takes these compositions – sonically beautiful on their own – to a memorable, rewarding place and keeps me going back time and time again.