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Elsiane and Rich Shapero – Rin, Tongue and Dorner Review

Scoring a novel with your own album and sound

Writing a soundtrack for a novel must be quite a challenging experience as you have only your mind’s eye to portray what’s going on in your mind. Elsiane rise to the task though for providing an immersive soundtrack for Rich Shapero’s novel “Rin, Tongue and Dorner” about life, love and change in a post-ice age event where civilisation has had to move to the equator. I must stress though that Elsaine’s music is really first and foremost an Elsaine album and it works completely standalone from the book, which I have not read.


For those who do not know, Elsiane are a Canadian duo best known for their cinematic but dark synth-based witchy music. On the surface across this soundtrack, everything feels much like a new album in a similar vein to previous albums. Where the crossover takes place is in the lyrics and the generally icy feel of a lot of the synth work that lies underneath the real string arrangement as momentous percussion that is an Elsaine staple. Of course, Elsieanne’s voice is as captivating as ever and from the opening of “On The Winds of Sleep” her range – from hushed coo’s of warning to a magical child of innocence soaring at high velocity -is unveiled to its usual success. The album keeps its signature sound throughout but does an incredible amount with its single set-up. “Let Me Through” is more mystical with its flowing strings and climactic choruses, whereas the heavy drums of “Pyronaut” smash out a dance track so ad-lib vocals that spiral around the synths. “Nobody Will Escape” and “Too Late” are very cinematic and dramatic with their extended percussive sections that let the tense synths play out and also give space to allow that tension to rise and then dissipate properly without it feeling like a typical score that allows you little room to feel the groove. Other tracks like “Monument”, “Lizard Soul” and the gorgeous “Silence” stay closer to mid-tempo or slower, more atmospheric side things. The latter track has some excellent acoustic guitar work weaved into it that gives it a Spanish feel.

The whole feel is like is Elsiane made an album with references to the Heat film soundtrack. It’s a great album but it’s not perhaps the easiest place to start with the band. This is because each of the tracks usually has an atmospheric intro and extended outro that equates to each track being usually 6 or 7 minutes long. As individual tracks, this really works nicely as each track feels like an event, but when they are all competing in an album, each song feels a little less special when they all follow the same pattern. It sounds like a weird comment to make on 11 great tracks but this was a rare time when actually I enjoyed each track more when they were played separately – and I usually love an album to be played end to end. However, if you like what you hear here and are intrigued to hear more, Elsiane has an excellent back catalogue that is more than worthy of your time and effort.

Recommended track: Pyronaut

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If you have this release, you can comment with your own score below.

Elsiane - Rin, Tongue and Dorner


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