Premiere: Meet Rose Riebl, who shares a transcendent debut single, Over Salt Sea
The Melbourne-based pianist and composer creates stirring, forward-thinking instrumental music that stings with its dark beauty.
It's a rare occurance when Pilerats takes a step into the more classical/non-electronic hip-hop world, but if nothing else, that's a testament to the musician we're about to introduce to the world: Rose Riebl. The Melbourne-based pianist and composer has been creating stirring moments of beauty for years now, training herself in classical piano from a young age (five years old, to be exact) to the point where now she's performed across much of Australia and beyond, with places unexplored no doubt within her reach when the world reopens again.
Today, however, is something special: The launch of her self-titled compositional project, where she carves together her long-standing relationship with piano along with her own modern and forward-thinking songwriting, creating a blend that literally brings together centuries of music - not an overstatement, believe it or not - to produce impactful and beautiful moments of this dark-esque neo-classical-like sound.
It's something that shines in her debut single Over Salt Sea, which premieres on Pilerats today alongside its release this week. It's an enchanting four-minutes of this simuteneously unsettling and calm musicianship; swelling melodies gradually building amongst the natural wash of beauty that comes with Rose Riebl's work, or at least what we've seen in the context of her introduction today.
As she explains, the lingering combination of light and dark seemingly stems from the song's theme, and the inspiration she took from the ocean while writing it. "This song was written on a morning of calm after a really long storm," she says on the single. "When I first sat down to play the opening triplet motif, I was exploring that feeling of being able to breathe again. I love water and the ocean & the song is also about the sound and motion of the sea; the invitation of a horizon.
"The notes in this piece are looking for the shape of light on water, that thing is does – where it looks like endless pieces tiny pieces of silver glass," she continues. "It builds to create a sensation of tumbling underwater, everything going upside down but then we come back up again, you find the sun, you find your lungs. I think I’m looking for ocean time, the beat of waves; without clock or calendar, without urgency."
It's forward-thinking yet classical at the same time, and as news filters through about her work in the electronic realm still to come, we have a feeling that Rose Riebl may blossom into the type of musician's musician that underpins a lot of music in the next few years, in realms way beyond the classical.
In the meantime, however, take a dive into Over Salt Sea below, introduce yourself to Rose Riebl underneath, and grab the track with its release today here.
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a pianist and composer. I grew up around lots of music, art and stories. There were early years of the insane discipline of Conservatorium training for classical musicians, which eventually diverged to a wandering life - working for the circus in London, chasing the Northern Lights through Iceland, many years of wild exploration - and the discovery of my own compositions, which are like maps, or landscapes of emotion.
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
I write in a genre that’s often called neoclassical, but that’s sort of a misnomer. What we’re doing is instrumental story telling in a modern classical setting. This genre grew out of the school of Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, Max Richter, and has been brought into the mainstream by Nils Frahm, Olafur Arnalds & co. The music is sometimes dark and quite serious, but always with those small bits of light, the deluded ones that hurt. Themes in mine live in the conversation between the epic & very intimate landscapes.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
I think the trick is to play for hours to find the few minutes that work. Late at night, early morning, in pain, when you’re bored. All the time. Just to keep playing and find the melodies, find the bit that feels real. I think people can hear inauthentic music instantly, so I always try and tell the truth. I never studied composition, so the pieces are very gestural, they come from the body, from feeling and sound.
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Over Salt Sea?
This song was written on a morning of calm after a really long storm. When I first sat down to play the opening triplet motif, I was exploring that feeling of being able to breathe again. I love water and the ocean & the song is also about the sound and motion of the sea; the invitation of a horizon. The notes in this piece are looking for the shape of light on water, that thing is does – where it looks like endless pieces tiny pieces of silver glass. It builds to create a sensation of tumbling underwater, everything going upside down but then we come back up again, you find the sun, you find your lungs. I think I’m looking for ocean time, the beat of waves; without clock or calendar, without urgency.
What do you have planned for 2021?
We’re so lucky to be in a country with a music industry that’s opening up again! This year is the release of my debut LP, and getting back to performing, collaborating, creating and sharing with an audience, who are the ones that make all of this real.
What do you want people to take away from your work?
I’ve always thought artists are deep sea divers, truth tellers who go down to the substrate levels to bring back the things we know exist there, but are sometimes difficult to confront. I think art can help us feel less alone in our suffering, but also act as a bridge back to feeling in busy lives where that’s not always an easy thing to do. Music has a way of unlocking the thing you’ve been carrying and letting you feel it, even if just for a moment. I want people to help avoid a cultural move towards being lukewarm or apathetic, to feel all the things that make us human and alive, and to be held in the music as they do.
Where can we find more of your music?
This is my debut release, which will be followed by a single in April, May and then the full album in June. In terms of live shows, jump on my IG or mailing list to stay up to date about where those will be happening.